Let’s start with a fact: The blue-chip Australian races can be notoriously difficult for the average punter to predict. The likes of the Melbourne Cup can be brutal on the favourites, and it can often lead to a lottery-like situation where tipsters end up looking a bit foolish.
Of course, it’s not always the case, as every so often you can come across a Winx or Makybe Diva who deliver time and time again. But generally speaking, it can be tough when dealing with some of those top-tier Australian racing.
However, a lot of money is flowing in for a certain Nature Strip for The Everest 2022 (15th October). Held on the same day as the Caulfield Cup and British Champions Day at Ascot this year, the Everest is quickly becoming the jewel in the crown for Racing NSW. The event at Royal Randwick is the richest turf race in the world. And while it will take a lot for racing fans to turn their heads from events at Caulfied at Ascot, the participation of Nature Strip makes this one box-office.
The best sprinter on the planet
Nature Strip is – in our view – the best sprinter on the planet right now. He won The Everest last year, and he is the current hot favourite to do so again in 2022. If you aren’t familiar with his work, go back and watch his performance at Royal Ascot in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes in June. It takes a special horse to do what Nature Strip did, making a mockery of a quality field to win by almost 5 lengths – an impressive feat in a Group 1 sprint over 5f.
Nature Strip had the summer (the Aussie winter) off to get back into shape back home, then returned on 17th September to win the Group 2 “The Shorts” at Randwick. Next stop is The Everest at the same location. Nature Strip loves it there at the home of Sydney racing, and it seems very difficult to pick out any of the field that could oppose him in The Everest. Several of those runners in The Shorts are confirmed runners for The Everest, and it looked like Nature Strip didn’t need to get out of second gear to win.
A decent field opposes Nature Strip
As for the odds, you are looking at odds just a smidgen above 5/4 with most bookmakers. You can get most of the rest of the field at 5/1 or above. Having the reigning Australian Thoroughbred Horse of the Year (he also won the award in 2020) in a race that he loves, on a course that he loves, and at the peak of his powers seems like a bargain to us. Still, to be objective, others might represent a bit more value, and you can see why there is some money coming in for others like Eduardo, Overpass, and Lost and Running.
But for our money, we just can’t see past the crowing of Nature Strip once more in one of the world’s richest races. He might not have it all his own way, given it’s an expensive race to enter and not going to have any duds, but we are looking at the world’s best sprinter with one of the world’s best jockeys (James McDonald). Nothing is ever nailed on in horse racing, but Nature Strip as a two-time winner of The Everest seems fairly close.