The writing could have been on the wall for the TJ Smith field even before the race as Nature Strip paraded like a horse ready to get to work. Looking extremely relaxed in the ring the stallion was a picture and calmly walked out to the track.
From the barriers, Nature Strip found himself sitting off Joe Pride’s Eduardo who took up running in a fast start. The formation barely changed until the home turn where Eduardo went for home and Nature Strip going with to set up an exciting finish.
It was all over at 200m though as Nature Strip pressed the go button and pulled one length, then two lengths clear in a powering run that Eduardo and the rest of the TJ field could deal with.
In the end it was the fast finishing Masked Crusader who would claim 2nd but then a length in front of Eduardo who was 2 lengths in front of the rest of the field demonstrating the strength of the win by stringing out a field over 1200m.
Winning trainer Waller said it was always their plan to take a sit off Eduardo's back, and not take on the speedster in the early stages.
“We knew you couldn’t go head to head [with Eduardo] and expect to win the race,” the premier Sydney trainer said.
“I think that brought us undone in the spring. We were getting taken on and coming off second best and left a sitting duck. Anything that wants to take him on gets beat as well. We’re beyond that, we wanted to be a bit more mature this preparation.
“His run in the Lightning he settled off the speed and blew them away. Last start it was a pretty good effort, he had a wide draw and had to do quite a bit of work. But today it just worked out perfectly and full credit to James and my team.”