Nature Strip out to prove he is the world’s best | Punt Drunk

Eduardo and Nature Strip

On Friday’s edition of Punt Drunk last week, we mentioned that two horses in the same race at Gowran Park shared the same name. The dust has settled on that now, and the results are in. Also on the other side of the globe, we are just one more sleep away from witnessing one of the most anticipated races of the year: Nature Strip vs Golden Pal in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. Will the big boy from Down Under prove he is the best in the world? Meanwhile, on home soil, the apprentices ran wild at Saturday’s Royal Randwick race meeting.


Two horses. Same name. One race. Double the chance of winning?

You could almost script it. Sierra Nevada (GB) and Sierra Nevada (USA) did battle in the seventh race at Gowran Park on Sunday night, and yep – you guessed it – Sierra Nevada was too good. The Jessica Harrington-trained runner was able to lead practically throughout to record a dominant victory on the line, giving the Americans one up on the Poms.


Nature Strip is looking to join the likes of Choisir, Takeover Target, Miss Andretti and Black Caviar on Tuesday as he lines up in the King’s Stand Stakes (1000m) on Day 1 of Royal Ascot. Superstar jockey James McDonald has made the trip to the UK to ride the reigning Everest champion.

Online bookmakers have the world’s best sprinter pegged as a $3.20 favourite in the Group 1 event, while American sprinter Golden Pal ($3.60) sits on his heels. McDonald is rated the world’s best jockey at this point in time, Chris Waller is a master trainer and the horse is at the peak of his powers – not a bad trio, if you ask us. Here’s hoping Nature Strip can get the job done.

The King’s Stand Stakes will jump at 12:40am AEST on June 15.


Arguably two of the best apprentices in the country – Dylan Gibbons and Reece Jones – proved why they deserve that title at Randwick last Saturday. Combining for six of the 10 wins throughout the afternoon, Gibbons and Jones will both remember the June 11 meeting for a long time.

Gibbons, the son of Andrew, kickstarted the day with a winning double, steering Zadig home in the opener before getting two-year-old Wingardium home in Race 2. The victory aboard Wingardium was also his 100th career win in the saddle – not a bad way to bring up the triple digits.

Jones didn’t take long to get on the board, booting home Waihaha Falls in the third. Comme Bella Fille came soon after, giving Jones a double in the fifth, before he proceeded to pull the senior riders’ pants down, winning the seventh and 10th races to earn himself a four-timer.

Apprentice jockey Ellen Hennessy also rode a winner, while the most recent apprentice graduate, Tom Sherry, took out the feature race aboard Dragonstone.

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