Boom sprinter Nature Strip has destroyed his rivals in the Group Two Rubiton Stakes at Caulfield in his first start for the Chris Waller stable after being transferred from the disqualified Darren Weir.
Nature Strip was sent out the $1.75 favourite in Saturday’s 1100m sprint and he sped along in front after a tardy getaway before kicking clear.
In his first start since last spring, the gelding had his rivals under pressure from a fair way out and strode away to beat Jungle Edge by 3-1/2-lengths with another 2-1/4-lengths to Thermal Current third.
Nature Strip arrived at Waller’s Flemington stable last Saturday after being transferred in the fall-out from stewards charging Weir late last week with possession of three electronic devices, known as jiggers.
Weir was on Wednesday disqualified for four years by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board after not contesting the stewards charges of possessing the devices.
Waller’s Melbourne stable foreperson Jo Taylor said Nature Strip had done everything right in the short time he has been at Flemington and she was suitably impressed by Saturday’s performance.
“He’s an absolute gentleman,” Taylor said.
“He hasn’t put a foot wrong since he’s arrived in the stable.
“It was fantastic to see him do this today and produce what we know is a class performance that he’s capable of producing.
“Now we’ve got something to build on and we know what we’re dealing with as well.”
With major Melbourne sprint races on the horizon, Taylor said Waller would talk to Nature Strip’s owners before confirming immediate targets.
“I think he was just in a class of his own today,” Taylor said.
Nature Strip’s regular jockey Damian Lane knows the sprinter well and said he felt the same horse as he has been before after taking his record to nine wins from 13 starts.
“It’s great to have him back and it’s great to have him going so well,” Lane said.
“That’s his strength, he can run fast sectionals over a sustained period.
“He’s the same fast horse.”
Nature Strip is now with his fifth trainer having started out with Robert Smerdon before having starts with Robert Hickmott and John Sadler until he was sent to Weir in May last year.