Nature Strip, Moir Stakes
  • There’s plenty of speed in the Moir Stakes: Nature Strip will need to be on his toes
  • The bigger field may pose problems for Nature Strip

The Speed Map

I’ve had a good look at the Moir Stakes at the Valley tomorrow night, and it’s an interesting race.

First of all, it’s a race with a lot of speed. The favourite Nature Strip is in barrier 1 and is the natural leader, and you’d think he’ll go straight to the front. Having said that, he wouldn’t want to miss the start, which he does have a bit of a habit of doing on occasion.

In that case, the horses drawn to it’s outside, Ball Of Muscle and Eduardo, certainly have the speed to push ahead, cross and take the front. For them, it’s all about how much intention the riders (Glyn Schofield and Brian Park respectively) show. If they really get into their charges then they can make it difficult for Nature Strip… but if they ease off and stick to what they might think the map is, then he’ll have things a little easier and be able to kick up and have the lead.

Field size

One very interesting thing that’s evident about Nature Strip is his pretty clear dislike of bigger fields. He’s only ever won three races in fields that have numbered in double figures.

Of those three, two were down the straight at Flemington when it got left alone and basically run on its own.

All his other wins have been in very small fields when he’s left alone and allowed to run at own tempo.

It’s a very interesting pattern that doesn’t necessarily bode well for him in this race.

The conclusion? He’s perhaps just a bit of a time-trialler.

The fastest horse in the race, but not the best racehorse. Tactically, he has a fair way to go.

I’ve certainly got him as the best horse in the race on raw ratings, and there isn’t a lot that comes close to him in this. But there’s more to it than that, and it’s one of the advantages of being able to know the horses and study them, rather than simply going off the raw ratings.

His journey between trainers has been well documented and must have been disruptive. Waller has been trying to get him to settle in the run and may have had some success, but on what we’ve seen it’s hard to be confident enough to risk your money,

Betting strategy

If this was a field of seven, then great – I’d be very keen on Nature Strip doing the job, then it’s just a question of price.

But it’s not. There’s a relatively big field of fifteen, including the two I mentioned (Ball Of Muscle and Eduardo) who have the ability to make it tough for him should he miss the kick and their riders show a bit of initiative.

At the moment he’s around the $2.90 mark, with a couple of bookies who actually do some pricing obviously not as keen and showing $3.30.

I’ve got him longer than that and I expect him to drift.

If we are able to get him at $3.00 or under however when there’s some money on Betfair, I’ll be keen to lay him and have the rest of the big field running for me. I think he’d lose more of these than he wins, so at 2/1 or better a lay is the smart option for mine. It’s a similar strategy to what we looked at with Mystic Journey in the Makybe Diva, which paid off.

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