Nature Strip retired

Nature Strip and James McDonald celebrating the 2021 VRC Sprint Classic win. Photo: Racing Photos.

The all-conquering Nature Strip has been retired following his defeat in Saturday’s Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m) at Randwick.

The Chris Waller-trained sprinter finishes his career a nine time Group 1 winner, banking connections just shy of $21m in prizemoney and is an Everest Champion.

“I’m announcing his retirement on behalf of the owners,” Waller said.

“He’s just been an amazing horse, everything he’s done he’s just done to the best of his ability, even today.

“He wasn’t the same horse in the race today. Yes, he jumped well, he travelled nicely, and looked to come up the rise well, but that same spark or acceleration wasn’t there.

“It’s so fitting we announce it as soon as the decision’s been made. I guess you could ask why did we bring him this extra preparation? Well, the simple fact is he’s a sound horse, he’s a happy horse, and that’s how he’ll retire.

“Thank you to everyone, it’s been an amazing journey, and I can’t thank you enough. He’s a champion.”

James McDonald was aboard Nature Strip for one last time in Saturday’s Concorde Stakes and the disappointment was evident in his post-race comments.

“1000m is always a little bit sharp for him but he ran below par,” McDonald said post-race.

From a Mornington maiden victory in 2017, to becoming the best sprinter in the world and conquering Royal Ascot in 2022, Nature Strip has certainly given racing fans around the country plenty to smile about during his illustrious career.

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