Nature Strip pictured with David Geall 📷 Jason Mckeown

  • Thursday, 14 Sep, 2023,
  • by Gerard Guthrie

‘Nature’ calls in St. Leger heats

Champion racehorse Nature Strip may have been retired recently, but his greyhound namesake will be striving to emulate the thoroughbred great’s feature race heroics in Friday night’s Group 3 Warragul St. Leger heats (460m).

Trained by David Geall, Nature Strip – which interestingly isn’t named after the equine superstar – has drawn box one in the first of two St. Leger heats (race 7, 8.52pm).

Nature Strip, a well-bred April ’21 son of Collision and Zara’s Entity, is Sportsbet’s $3.80 second elect, with Alpha Zulu (box 7), winner of 10 from 14 for Jason Thompson, $2.40 favourite.

While Nature Strip has an impressive nine from 24 record of his own, Geall fears poor box manners may be his undoing against elite opposition.

“If he could jump, I’m hoping we get to see the real Nature Strip.”

“He’s got a ton of ability,” Geall said.

“He’s drawn well but he’s just not beginning, and he’s got worse over the last month. He’s over-keen in the starting boxes.

“It is a very strong heat but he’s definitely good enough. If he could jump, I’m hoping we get to see the real Nature Strip.

“We’ve been doing a bit of box practice with him and I’m hoping that will pay off to some extent, although practice is very different to race night.

“Nobody has the formula to get them coming out. If somebody did, they would be a millionaire ten times over.

WATCH: “Nature Strip charged through now!” NATURE STRIP (B2) railed strongly to score over 460m at Warragul on August 29, storming home in 26.30sec.

“Box one is an advantage if you begin with them, but it’s a disadvantage if you miss the start. If Nature Strip could get to the front he can definitely win.

“He’s probably a better one-bend dog, but he’s also a very fast two-turn dog. We like our dogs to be both.”

Nature Strip is a littermate to Al’s Entity and Isle’s Entity, which both won Million Dollar Chase regional finals this week at Bulli and Maitland respectively.

Nature Strip’s heat opposition includes an intriguing runner in lightly-raced Tasmanian Ducati Roy (box 6), winner of seven of his nine starts in the Apple Isle.

In the best of hands with Kel and Jackie Greenough for his St. Leger tilt, the son of 2020 Melbourne Cup victor Hard Style Rico is a $12 chance as he faces a baptism of mainland fire.


“He’s going to a totally different standard; he hasn’t met dogs like this before,” Kel Greenough offered candidly.

“He arrived six days ago. I gave him a look at Warragul, and he went okay. The track wasn’t great, but he did run the Best of the Day.

“He’s an immature dog and not a great beginner, so box six makes it tough.

“He’s been running 25.80sec at Hobart, but realistically you’d want him to be running 25.50sec to be a chance, so he’s probably a little bit off the pace.”

While Greenough doesn’t have any grand expectations ahead of Ducati Roy’s Victorian debut, he was much more upbeat about champion Wow She’s Fast as she builds momentum towards a racing return.

“She’s ticking all the boxes at the moment,” he said.

“She’s had two trials at The Meadows and gone the Best of the Day both times.

“But she’s at least a month away from racing and we’re still just hoping.”

Steve White’s G1 Maturity Classic finalist Professor Snitch (box 3), unbeaten in two starts at Warragul, heads betting on heat two of the St. Leger at $2.90, ahead of another Jason Thompson contender in Navarino (box 8) at $3 and Peter Craig’s Waterloo Cup winner Funny Old Fellow (box 7) at $4.20.

Boom Tasmanian Ducati Roy in full flight at Hobart 📷 Bec Duggan

Gerard GuthrieGerard Guthrie

Gerard Guthrie

One of Australia’s leading greyhound racing journalists since 2000 with the Greyhound Recorder and now with Greyhound Racing Victoria. Part-owner 2013 Group 1 Paws Of Thunder winner Sheikha. (The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of GRV)

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