Nature Strip bows out after a wide trip in the Concorde Stakes

Scott Mcglynn
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Nature Strip bows out after a wide trip in the Concorde Stakes

Chris Waller has called time on the career of sprinter Nature Strip after a run in the Concorde Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.

News Insights

  • Final run in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes
  • Nine times a Group 1 winner
  • Won more than 20 million in prize money
  • Won more than 20 million in prize money

Chris Waller announced the retirement of star sprinter Nature Strip following the Group 3 Concorde Stakes on Saturday afternoon. Nine times, he passed the post first in Group 1 company to make him one of the best of his generation.

At nine years old, time would always be running out on sprinter Nature Strip. He had shown signs earlier in 2023 that age was catching up with him. Such was his class, though, connections brought him back this campaign for one last try, but they quickly called time on his career after finishing down the field in the Concorde Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.

Concorde Stakes

The Randwick Group 3 is a race that Nature Strip has won in the past, saluting in the 2021 renewal ahead of his win in The Everest. Things didn't go to plan this year, however. Trapped wide from an outside barrier, Nature Strip could never reach the rail in a race where the lead was contested.

Having to cover the extra ground around the bend into the straight did him no favours, and there was no response when James McDonald asked for extra when the race winner, Remarque, kicked for home. 

This was not the Nature Strip that we have become accustomed to down the years, and it was no surprise that trainer Chris Waller announced a press conference shortly after the race to announce the retirement of his star. 

The Everest

The biggest win on home soil for Nature Strip was the 2021 Everest at his beloved Randwick. He raced at the track more than any other, and it was fitting that it was the course where he ran his last race on Saturday.

It was the track that saw one of his greatest triumphs. In customary style, his gate speed was excellent to get to the front, where he loved to be. From that point, he just kept going through the gears and finding a little extra every time that he was asked to hold off Masked Crusader and Eduardo in a thriller of a finish. 

King's Stand

Royal Ascot 2022 will live long in the memory of racing fans worldwide. Nature Strip headed to Berkshire, England, to put his claims as one of the top sprinters in the world on the line by taking on the best of Europe and America on the opening day of the famous meeting. 

It is fair to say that Wesley Ward's Golden Pal underperformed that day, but even if he had been at his best, it is hard to see how he would have coped with the performance that Nature Strip produced over the 1006m trip.

Not many races over that distance are won by four and a half lengths at any level, but to do it in a Group 1 was nothing short of spectacular. It was a display of brutal efficiency as once Nature Strip hit the front, nothing could live with him.

We have long known that Australian sprinters have the measure of their European counterparts, but this was a win that will be reminisced about for decades to come, one of the most remarkable wins that Royal Ascot will ever have the fortune to witness. 

While it is sad that we will not see Nature Strip in race action again, he is retired sound and on his terms, which is a great thing. The horse of a lifetime for connections, we, as horse racing fans, have been blessed to watch this freak of nature in action. We wish him a long and very happy retirement.