Sydney’s premier trainer, Chris Waller, has provided an update on Nature Strip and Home Affairs as they continue preparations for The Everest this Saturday at Royal Randwick.
Both horses had their final gallop before the $15 million race in the early hours of Monday morning, with Waller describing their work as “very good”.
Having won the race in 2019 with Yes Yes Yes, Waller will be looking to add another to his resume in his third attempt as three-year-old colt Home Affairs (Coolmore) takes his place alongside star sprinter Nature Strip (Chris Waller Racing).
Nature Strip was a dominant winner first-up in the Concorde Stakes, defeating a subsequent Group 1 winner in Wild Ruler, before running a narrow second to Eduardo in The Shorts.
That form sees the son of Nicconi rated a +380 second-favourite in the fifth running of The Everest.
“He hasn’t put a foot wrong since his last start run,” Waller said.
“He’s come on nicely with that run, and obviously a slick jump-out at Rosehill last week, he’s fitter.
“Third-up he normally peaks, which is what we expect Saturday.
“There’s a prospect for a bit of rain; that won’t dishearten Nature Strip or Home Affairs.
“I loved his jump-out how he just took a sit off Home Affairs, showing that he’s a little bit more tractable than he was last year and I think in this year’s race it will be important.
“It will be a tough 1200m and we are thoroughly looking forward to Saturday’s TAB Everest.”
James McDonald will once again partner Nature Strip as he searches for his first victory in the world’s richest race on turf, while it will be Glen Boss who rides Home Affairs in his bid to win his second Everest title.
Given the weight-for-age conditions, Home Affairs will carry only 53kg in the race, meaning a lightweight rider like Boss fits the mould perfectly.
Home Affairs, a son of I Am Invincible, has only had five career starts, winning once as a two-year-old in the Silver Slipper Stakes and once as a three-year-old in the Heritage Stakes, his sole run this campaign in the lead-up to The Everest.
The colt also placed third in the Todman Stakes to Anamoe and Profiteer in the start prior to a six-length defeat in the Golden Slipper Stakes.
“He’s come on nicely thanks to his first-up run,” Waller said.
“He had the two horse jump-out at Rosehill last week.
“This was his first piece of fast work since then, and most likely his last piece of work going into Saturday’s Everest.
“Obviously he’s got the Coolmore slot for Coolmore connections and a great group of owners.
“We’re very excited about taking a three-year-old for the race with Glen Boss in the saddle.”
The barrier draw for The Everest will take place at 11:45am AEDT on Tuesday, October 12 and will be shown live on Sky Thoroughbred Central.