Billed as a match-race between Nature Strip and Sunlight, the Listed Lightning Stakes at Morphettville turned into a one-act affair.
The Darren Weir-trained Nature Strip pressed his claims for one of the few remaining slots in October’s $13 million Everest (1200m) in Sydney, racing clear of Sunlight to win by six lengths.
“It was a terrific run and it will give a lot of people something to think about anyway,” said Weir, who watched the race from Caulfield.
“I look forward to seeing what happens in the future.”
Nature Strip, the $1.50 favourite, stepped away slightly slowly and ended up outside Magic Millions winner Sunlight ($2.60), who led the field of seven in Saturday’s race.
Nature Strip appeared to race keenly in the middle stages but, with Damian Lane aboard, the gelding applied the pressure rounding the home corner and left Sunlight behind.
Fancy Rumble ($81) finished third, another 1-1/4 lengths away from Sunlight.
“I was a little bit nervous when he stepped away a bit slow and then the filly went straight to the front and rolled along,” Weir said.
“He got trucking up a bit getting towards the home corner but, gee, when he went around the corner and let rip it was always going to be hard for something to run him down.
“There wouldn’t be many faster horses so once he learns to get it all together and switch off, the 1200 (metres) will not be a problem for him.”
Weir said immediate plans could depend on whether Nature Strip secured a slot in the Everest but if he didn’t, the trainer said there were plenty of other spring options.
“He’ll get his chance to run in a good race somewhere very soon, I’d say,” Weir said.
Nature Strip’s win came shortly after the Lindsay Park-trained gelding Vega Magic dominated the Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield, beating the Weir-trained Voodoo Lad by three lengths.
Connections of Nature Strip opted for the Adelaide race over running in the Bletchingly.
“It would have made a great race of it,” Weir said.