What was supposed to be a quiet clean-up trial for The Everest favourite Nature Strip turned into a massive scare when jockey James McDonald was ditched at the start and the chestnut ran free around the Kensington track.
Nature Strip was down to contest the opening trial of the day over 850m against just three rivals, Libertini, Wild Planet and Mizzy.
Nature Strip skirts the outside fence on his own. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
However just when the gates were released the gelding was slow to begin, jumping in the air and McDonald was unceremoniously dumped over the off-side of the horse.
Nature Strip continued on and raced around the outside of his three rivals to take the lead and charge down the outside fence well clear of his opponents.
After passing the post though Nature Strip eased down of his own accord and came back to be greeted by his strapper.
Nature Strip 😮 pic.twitter.com/dyjdWzOPiu
Chris Waller stable representative Charlie Duckworth told Sky Racing after the incident that Nature Strip appeared to have taken no harm from his adventures, “seems to have pulled up absolutely fine,” he said.
“Obviously he finished just in front of horses with riders on, it’s not like he was 15 (lengths) clear and looked like he was quite relaxed within himself, then when he came back round riderless he stopped for his strapper Stuart, who rides him every day and knows him very well, I don’t think he’s taken any harm from it at all.
Charlie Duckworth, racing manager for Chris Waller awaits the riderless Nature Strip. Photo by Mark Evans/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“He’s in one piece and James is in one piece, I don’t think he did too much and he’ll benefit from the gallop even if it was riderless.”
When asked whether he expected Nature Strip to be sent back to trial in front of stewards Duckworth said “it had yet to be discussed”
“He’s had a lot of career starts and a lot of public appearances and never done it before, so it’s a complete freak accident.
Chris Waller and Charlie Duckworth check Nature Strip after his riderless work at Randwick. Photo by Mark Evans/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“I had a good chat to James and he said there was no reason for him to do it, he’s just jumped up in the air just as they’ve opened, he gave James no indication, he was lovely and relaxed before the trial it’s a bit of a head scratcher but they’re all their own individual characters these horses.”
Nature Strip remains the $3.50 favourite for The Everest with Classique Legend now into $6 second pick after his impressive win in Saturday’s The Shorts.
Watch the full trial. Courtesy of Racing NSW.
Originally published asScare for The Everest favourite Nature Strip
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