Nature Strip form is as good as it gets so when the bookies are serving a horse up at more than $51 off a competitive trial against the star sprinter, it’s worth a second look.
Not too many horses get within a head of Nature Strip in a track gallop, barrier trial or race and are served up at $51 or better but that’s the case at Randwick on Saturday.
The Greg Hickman-trained Tudor Music heads to Randwick to run in the Group 3 PJ Bell Stakes (1200m) off a barrier trial performance that defies the $81 price on offer on Saturday for the filly.
“I know it was only a barrier trial but you have to take something out of that performance,” Hickman said.
“Nature Strip was probably in first gear and she was in fourth but he’s not going around against her on Saturday.
“I don’t think she should be those odds, that’s for sure.”
Hickman said Tudor Music is a stronger filly than the speedster that won four of her first 11 starts over distances between 900 and 1000m.
“The trip is a bit of a query but she’s getting stronger and that barrier should help her get a good run,” he said.
“She will appreciate the wet ground too.”
Hickman’s other two runners on Saturday contest Group 1 features.
Stable star Eleven Eleven faces the stiffest test of his career in the $2.5 million TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) while Rondino tackles the $2 million Australian Derby (2400m).
Eleven Eleven continues to impress and please his trainer after a summer campaign that saw him win his second million-dollar Magic Millions race – the Magic Millions Cup.
“He’s had a really good preparation and build up towards Saturday,” Hickman said.
“I could have gone around in a Group three next week but this will tell me where he sits in the pecking order.
“The ground will suit him as will 1200m at Randwick.
“Everything is telling me he’ll run as well as he can and come Saturday night we’ll have a clearer picture of where to go in the future.
“There’s plenty of options around for him.”
Rondino blotted his copybook last week in the Tulloch Stakes when over racing but his trainer says he’ll give a much better sight this week to his backers.
“He lost the plot at Rosehill last week,” he said. “He’s better than that.”