Nature Strip Proves Equal to First Try on Flemington Straight

The barrier draw does not mean so much when the race is 1100 metres and straight down the track, but Nature Strip came out of seven and managed to win the Listed Inglis Dash on Saturday as the $1.50 odds on favourite.

The only horse close to him in the betting was second place finisher Prezado ($5). Bravo Tango ($18) was third.

Roddandtodd ($151) was fourth, so the $12,500 he captured in prizemoney must have been a welcome windfall for trainer Daniel Bowman and jockey Declan Bates.

Nature Strip’s victory was met with something less that ardent praise, as he won by three-quarters of a length, a margin unsatisfactory to some who might have thought that, from $1.50, Nature Strip should have produced a six-length victory.

Nature Strip jockey had his own assessment, saying, “First time down the straight they are always vulnerable, especially when they are big and raw like him and he just got lost. I thought he’d handle it ok but when he was in front he just floated around a bit waiting for a corner.”

Nature Strip will not be denied a corner, if, as expected, he is sent to the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes as a stepping-stone to the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield. No one can say that Nature Strip is being denied the chance to show what he can do over 1100 metres.

The horse did not seem to care that he is now under the auspices of Robert Hickmott, who took over from Robert Smerdon, who has stood himself down until the investigation into his race day treatment regimen is concluded.

After that, it would presumed that if Hickmott is cleared, Smerdon would get Nature Strip back, but maybe the two trainers will have to have a duel of some sort, swords or pistols, we are not sure which.

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