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By Jack Petley | Sunday, September 5, 2021

There were some impressive winners throughout Australia yesterday including Jamaea, Mr Brightside, The Inferno, Forgot You, Think It Over and Zouzarella … but they were completely overshadowed by the big two of Aussie racing, the best sprinter in the world, Nature Strip, and the UK import, Zaaki, who has taken Australian racing by storm for Anabelle Neasham.

Nature Strip gave none of his rivals any chance at all in the Concorde. James McDonald allowed him to amble out of the gates and then gradually took him to lead. From then it was no contest. Off the bend he had his rivals struggling and he went to the line under a hold and with his odds for the $15 million The Everest made even shorter minutes after.

Two races later McDonald was at it again, on Zaaki, who treated his opponents with absolute contempt. Fifth early, wide on the home bend, in front in a canter soon after and crushing his rivals without turning a hair with Kiwi McDonald not releasing brakes. Minutes after his odds were slashed yet again for many of the majors in the spring including the Main Stakes, the WS Cox Plate and anything else he had been entered for.

Those performances were certainly outstanding … and there is much more to come from both. "That is the best he (Nature Strip) has ever felt first up," said McDonald of the now $5 bet in The Everest. Next for the star … either the Shorts or the Premier and third up in the Everest.

"Anyone could have won on this horse," said McDonald after Zaaki's victory. Next up for him … either the George Main or the Underwood. Whatever race I woudn't be tipping anything to beat him. "He is one super horse," said the Kiwi ace.

Other impressive winners, firstly the Valley … the three-year-old Forgot You, by Savabeeel, for the Busuttin-Young yard looked all over a major contender for the Caulfield Guineas and the Derby with a resounding win in a 1500 metre handicap in the hands of Daniel Moor. "He is a nice horse going forward,” Moor told Natalie Young after the stylish win. Young said she would sit down with Trent and work out a plan towards the Classics.

A race later Mr Brightside, by Bullbars, gained his fourth win on end for Team Hayes ."He is a nice horse going through," said JD Hayes. "He knows when it is game time and he produces."

The filly Zouzarella, who is raced by Cambridge Stud, stepped out in the Atlantic Jewel and she made it two from two for Team Freedman with a powerful win. She sat off the pace, stormed to the lead off the home bend and is now on her way to the Gr1 Thousand Guineas with her odds slashed after the win. “She really put her hand up today," said in-form Brett Prebble.

A race earlier The Inferno gave Cliff Brown a big boost since returning from Singapore. The Inferno, by Holy Roman Emperor was bred by Gerry Harvey's Westbury Stud and purchased out of Karaka by Brown for $140,000 and then turning him into one of the best sprinters in Singapore. Brown says the winner of nine out of eleven is the "best horse he has trained" and he is now hopeful that slot holders will look at his star for the Everest. "I have no doubts he is an Everest horse," said Brown, who is now situated at Mornington after many successful years in Singapore."

And there was a mere whisker in another Kiwi bred galloper Elephant taking out the Feehan Stakes, Just short of the line he looked to have the race won over a charging Superstorm and lost the race by a mere nose on the line, but it was a superb effort by the Team Browne rising star and he showed he has the class to handle the highest grade as he develops and matures. There is much ahead of him.

Super third by the Cups contender The Chosen One. The Baker-Forsman stayer sat back was wide but came home hard and, in fact, with a little further, he would have gathered in the other two. Last spring he ran third in the Caulfield Cup and fourth in the Melbourne Cup and he is right on track for the big ones ahead and with his odds firming for both after his slashing fresh up effort for the Cambridge yard.

In Sydney the Team Price filly Jamaea saluted in the Darley Furious Stakes and now her trainers have their eye on tackling the Golden Rose against the colts. The winning ride went to Brock Ryan, a top apprentice, replacing the suspended Tommy Berry. The Golden Rose may be the last run for the campaign for the filly as her trainers plan to freshen her for the Magic Millions carnival.

Think It Over hit fine form with a last stride win over the former Kiwi Riodini, who had set a solid pace and only surrendered the lead in the shadows of the post. Now the Kerry Parker galloper could face a stern test at his next run as Parker is looking at the George Main with his star with that race down for Zaaki and maybe the great Kiwi bred mare Verry Elleegant.

Bjorn Baker is on a roll already this season and he added a further win to his tally for the season with Soldier Of Love in the last of the day. The 41-1 chance came with a powerful finish for Rachael King and that gave King her second winner for the day as she had been successful on the Godolphin galloper Brigantine with that stable also wining with Geist under a first-rate winning ride by Hugh Bowman. Atishu, the former Kiwi filly, was at the rear of the field in the Soldier of Love race and she made ground hard and late … but too late. She was only beaten by a length and not helped by a tiring runner or two when running home hard. It was a run which showed her first up Australian win no fluke and she is headed for a very successful spring.

More articles

Trainer Chris Waller ... Nature Strip could not have pleased him more
Trainer Chris Waller ... Nature Strip could not have pleased him more
Zaaki (pictured above and below)  ... onwards and upwards
Zaaki (pictured above and below) ... onwards and upwards
Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
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