Exciting sprinter Nature Strip headlines nominations for the $250,000 Inglis Dash.
Along with the $120,000 Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m), the lucrative Inglis Dash for three-year-olds eligible for the Inglis Race Series will be one of the feature races on Saturday’s nine-race program at Flemington
Nature Strip has won three of his four starts including his past two by 5-1/2 lengths.
The gelding has done his early racing for trainer Robert Smerdon but has been transferred to trainer Robert Hickmott.
John Sadler will reportedly take over the training of the gelding once he returns from a six-week suspension for misconduct early next month.
Smerdon has stood down from training until the hearing of charges issued against him by Racing Victoria stewards last week in relation to race day treatments after an investigation stemming from the scratching of Lovani at Flemington last October.
Nature Strip resumed from a let-up at Sandown last Wednesday and left his rivals in his wake in the final 200m, with jockey Ryan Maloney able to let the sprinter coast to the line over the final 50m.
“He’s as good a horse as I’ve ridden,” Maloney said.
The 23 nominations for the Inglis Dash include Listed winner Overshare who is the highest-weighted horse in the entries at 57kg under the set weights plus penalties conditions.
The Henry Dwyer-trained last-start Caulfield winner Onehundred Percent and the Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra-trained Prezado, who won his most recent start in November during the Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington, have 56.5kg while recent Caulfield-winning filly Magnesium Rose has 54.5kg for trainer Matthew Lindsay.
Nature Strip has 56kg.