Talented sprinter Nature Strip will be given every chance to stake a claim for a berth in the $14 million Everest.
Premier Sydney trainer Chris Waller is in full swing heading to the spring and has a host of horses ready to return to the track.
He has been working hard to get Nature Strip to settle in his work and trials with a view to extending his repertoire to run 1200 metres comfortably.
Only one of Nature Strip’s 10 wins has been beyond 1100m, the distance of his Group One win in the Galaxy earlier this year.
“I think he has come back a more mature horse again and with him losing those antics of being seen as a ‘go fast and hope for the best’ type horse, we are starting to see some tractability in him,” Waller said.
“He had a trial last week at Rosehill with James McDonald aboard who said that it is the best he has been.
“I think he is a perfect example for a horse to pick up one of the last remaining slots because he is a proven Group One performer.
“I know everyone is just waiting to see him settle better and I have just about done it.”
Waller is already training West Australian mares Arcadia Queen and Enticing Star for the Everest.
Both are owned by Bob Peters and have secured starts in the race on October 19 with Enticing Star to run in the slot held by Waller and Arcadia Queen running for The Star.
The two were withdrawn from barrier trials on Monday with the trainer saying they did not need them so soon.
Instead they worked together at Rosehill on Tuesday morning.
Waller plans to start Nature Strip in the Group Three Concorde Stakes (1000m) on September 7 but has not yet decided where Arcadia Queen and Enticing Star will kick off.
After the Concorde, Nature Strip is likely to run in the Premiere Stakes (1200m) on October 5 to ensure he is primed for the Everest if he gets a call-up,
The four slots left in the race are held by Coolmore, Godolphin, James Harron and the Melbourne Racing Club.
Coolmore and Godolphin are likely to put one of their own horses in while the winner of the Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield on October 12 gains the MRC slot if connections want to run.