Ahead of Royal Ascot this week, legendary Australian trainer Chris Waller has discussed his two runners at the Royal Meeting.
Nature Strip has really matured into a foolproof horse
“Earlier in his career, he used to be a bit hit and miss because he would charge and race very fiercely. Now he is more relaxed and tractable.
“As it has worked out with him missing the last couple of Royal Ascot meetings due to Covid, we are now bringing a horse who is winning more often than not.
“I do not see his age as an issue at all. I don’t see him as a rising eight-year-old, I just see him as a mature racehorse.
“Through maturity we’ve managed to harness that and he’s now racing more tractably, which I think is important as we’ve found that if you go flat out over 1000 metres you’ll come undone.”
“It’s always hard when you are coming from the other side of the world, but it sounds like Golden Pal is very quick.
“But what Nature Strip and Home Affairs have is that they are good straight track horses, so they only need to replicate their Australian form to be capable of fighting out the finish with the best in the world.
“I think it will be a tough 1000 metres, and probably more like an Australian 1100 or 1200, which is probably his perfect distance.”
Nature Strip and Home Affairs only need to replicate their Australian form to be fighting out the finish with the best in the world
“What Nature Strip and Home Affairs have to their advantage is that they are both good straight track horses.
“They only need to replicate their Australian form to be capable of fighting out the finish with the best in the world. That is what we are concentrating on.
“If there are horses who want to go quick, then we will let them and run our own race because that is what works.
“I walked the straight course here with my team and it had us blowing. This is a tough 1000m [5f] and it probably rides more like a 1200m [6f] race in Australia.
“Nature Strip is equally as effective over 1000m to 1200m and, given the King’s Stand will ride more like a 1200m race, we are in our comfort zone with him.
“I feel with Home Affairs, after his dominant win in the Coolmore Stud Stakes, that he is very good over 1200m provided he settles, and we have done a lot of work with him on that.
“I loved his jump out at Flemington before getting on the plane – he relaxed very quickly which is what he will have to do to win.”
Everything has gone to plan so far
“Everything has gone to plan – they have not put a foot wrong, but we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves. They are horses and we need to respect that.
“They have been staying with Charlie Hills and his facility is just amazing. They have vast open spaces [in Lambourn] and the horses come first. It has been a great insight for me into how the English trainers do things.”
Royal Ascot is something unique
“Royal Ascot will all be about which horse copes with the occasion and the pressure of the race.
“I doubt Golden Pal will have been under the pressure he is about to be under, with the same applying to our horse as well. These races make champions and talking points.
“We are fully aware of Ascot every year and we want to bring the best, which is not always easy to do. We’ve got horses with the right credentials this year, and it fits in well for both horses.
“In Australia there aren’t many boxes left to tick for Nature Strip, as he’s won everything there in terms of the feature sprints, and it’s just a great experience for the ownership group, my stable, and my team.”
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