All eyes will be on exciting sprinter Nature Strip when he heads to Flemington for the Listed A R Creswick Series Final.
Nature Strip toyed with his rivals in a handicap for three-year-olds over 1100m at Flemington last Saturday week, in near course record time, at his first start since being transferred to Darren Weir’s stable.
Nature Strip has five wins from eight starts and finished fourth in his only attempt beyond 1100m in the Group Two Euclase Stakes (1200m) in Adelaide in May.
The sprinter gets an opportunity to answer any question marks over the distance in Saturday’s straight-track sprint against his own age ahead of bigger targets, possibly including the $13 million Everest.
“Can he run 1200? I’m sure he would have run 1200 the other day so I don’t think that’s a problem,” Weir told RSN927.
“You look at the times he ran. I don’t know how he could run much quicker, really.
“It was a terrific gallop.
“He’s pulled up well. He had a strong half-mile gallop on his own (on Monday morning).
“He’s going to present to the races well on Saturday, providing everything goes well for the rest of the week, and we’d expect him to run well again and then hopefully someone is interested in giving him a slot in The Everest.”
Six of the 12 slots for the $13 million Everest at Randwick in October have already been filled.
“I think there’s a couple sniffing around but I’ve sort of stayed out of that,” Weir said.
“I’ve just put them on to the owners and they can decide what they do there.
“We’re just focusing on this Saturday and then hopefully he can get the job done and there becomes a bit more interest in him then.”
Nature Strip looms as the headline runner at Saturday’s meeting which features the finals of a host of winter series races in Victoria.
The Creswick Series Final for three-year-olds, which has attracted 18 nominations, is one of four Listed races on the program along with the Taj Rossi Series Final (1600) for two-year-olds, the All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m) and the Winter Championship Final (1600m).