Champion trainer Chris Waller says Nature Strip is ‘marching’ around the stables ahead of his attempt at history in Saturday’s Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick.
The superstar sprinter will be aiming to become the first horse in the race’s history to claim it four-consecutive times.
However, unlike other years, Nature Strip enters the feature on the back of a poor first-up showing, where he was well beaten in the G1 Black Caviar Lightning last month.
In previous years, Nature Strip would hit the T.J. Smith third-up, but Waller opted to give Nature Strip a jumpout rather than a second run as a lead-up this time.
“He is as well as we can have him,” Waller said of Nature Strip, who will jump from barrier seven with James McDonald on board.
“This prep obviously started off poor with a flat run. James said he was never comfortable on the track,” he said.
“He hasn’t put a foot wrong since. His work last 10 days has been good.
“He was marching this morning after his work. He was just on a mission. He’s ready to go, ready to go.
“Yes, he’s a little bit older. He’s in the twilight of career, we can’t hide that. But we can’t have him any better.”