Nature Strip Bright as a Button

Date: 15 Jun 2022

Nature Strip Bright as a Button


Andrew Bensley reports on a horse that Kiwis will also be cheering on in the early hours of Wednesday morning ....


Nature Strip's managing owner Rod Lyons has provided a final update on the star sprinter on the eve of his Royal Ascot assault in the Kings Stand Stakes.

The Chris Waller-trained seven-year-old is the current $3.10 favourite with Sportsbet after drawing barrier 10 in the 18-horse field.

Chatting live from England, Lyons describes the build-up to that of the Everest and the Melbourne Cup in Australia.

“It's been fantastic for myself and the whole team, it's very much like an Everest and Melbourne Cup build-up, if not on steroids,” Lyons said on SEN Track's Bensley.

“It really is exciting and they're really making a big song and dance about the whole meeting.

“It's hard to explain, it's surreal. Most of the pubs that you go into know all about Royal Ascot and most of them know about Nature Strip - it really is exciting from that angle.”

Not underplaying the difficulty of the Royal Ascot circuit, Lyons admits it'll be a “tough” task, saying there's no place to hide on the steep straight.

“It's tough, it's a course where you've got to be strong and there will be no place to hide,” he added.

“It's really quite daunting when you get down to the 1000m mark and look up the straight you can hardly see the winning post.

“He's going to have to be right at the top of his game which we think he is, he's in terrific condition. He's bright as a button and he scorched along on Friday, he wasn't out to make time, but you could just see him gliding across the ground.”

Second favourite in the race is American champ Golden Pal, a natural speedy horse that pings out of the gate and leads them out - setting up for an electric start to the race.

Keeping his cards close to his chest, Lyons says he hasn't been involved in the tactical discussions between Waller and jockey James McDonald, however, he has revealed that they won't be engaging in a speed battle with the American.

“I'm not privy to what Chris is going to say to James but I've had a couple of discussions and the thought is we won't be going into a speed battle, if he (Golden Pal) wants to jump and go crazy like he does, he just jumps and runs from what I've seen on replay as there's no trying to hold him,” he said.

“He's got to get up that steep uphill as well, all his runs have been on circular flat tracks in America and twice he's been over the UK and twice he's been beaten so hopefully it'll be the third time beaten.”

The Kings Stand Stakes is scheduled to jump at 12:40AM AEST.


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