Tipsheet: The Everest 2022, betting with and without Nature Strip
There's one very simple question when considering how to play the A$15 million ($9.7 million) Everest this year: do you take on #1 Nature Strip?
After all, the eight-year-old proved himself the best sprinter on either hemisphere with a devastating 4 1/2-length triumph in the King's Stand S. (G1) at Royal Ascot. Sure, star U.S. turf speedster Golden Pal blew the start, but he'd have needed to be mighty good to have been in Nature Strip's class that day. It says something that the connections of speedy mare Campanelle, like Golden Pal trained by Wesley Ward, decided to stay at home after having considered this option earlier in the year.
🏆 King's Stand Stakes (G1)— 𝙒𝙤𝙧𝙡𝙙𝙍𝙖𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙜 (@WorldRacing1) June 14, 2022
1010m, 500.000 GBP
Nature Strip 🇦🇺
(7G Nicconi - Strikeline, by Desert Sun)
J :James McDonald
T :Chris Waller
O :R A E Lyons, P D Harrison, P N Kean, S W Hansen, G L Smith, J P Van Duuren...
B :Golden Grove Studpic.twitter.com/EBfNAX8SGS
Along with last year's six-furlong Everest and the five-furlong King's Stand, Nature Strip has won eight Group 1 sprints in Australia. A victory here would put him within sight of becoming the highest earner in the history of racing, a title currently held by fellow Australian Winx.
However, unlike Winx, Nature Strip hasn't been invincible. He's been beaten 17 times in 39 career starts, including twice in this race prior to last year's narrow triumph. His current win streak of three is the longest of his career. So where are his dangers?
#2 Eduardo has beaten Nature Strip three times already, so he would seem a likely contender. However, he has a habit of being beaten by his rival when the big prizes are up for grabs, so I'm not confident it will be him.
Last year's close Everest runner-up #4 Masked Crusader does have some claims. His formline doesn't look outstanding but it was similar to this last year, and with a similar effort he could turn the tables at peak.
I see the other main dangers as the Melbourne three-year-olds #11 Jacquinot and #12 Giga Kick. Jacquinot is the more proven, having beaten Sydney's best sophomores in the Golden Rose (G1) Sept. 24, but he has to come back from seven furlongs for this and he may be suited to further. Giga Kick is unbeaten, but he has yet to face Group 1 company, let alone a field this good, and he'd need to improve further.
Other clear chances in the world's richest turf race are #3 Lost and Running, #5 Mazu, and #6 Private Eye, but I fancy them more for the lower rungs of exotics.
The Everest Wagers - with Nature Strip
- $40 win: #1 Nature Strip ($40)
- $3 trifecta: 1 with 2, 3 with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11, 12 ($36)
- $1 trifecta: 1 with 4, 11, 12 with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11, 12 ($18)
The Everest Wagers - without Nature Strip
- $10 win/$20 show: #11 Jacquinot ($30)
- $1 trifecta: 4, 11 with 1, 4, 11 with 1, 2, 3, 4, 11, 12 ($16)
#1 NATURE STRIP (Estimated odds 1-1): The best sprinter in the world. Won this last year, and thrashed the best in Europe in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot. Won his only lead-up, the Shorts (G2), but doesn’t always string wins together and was unsuccessful in this race twice before his victory last year.
#2 EDUARDO (10-1): Grand nine-year-old who has been one of the best sprinters in Australia for some time. Has beaten Nature Strip three times and won the Concorde (G3) when resuming Sept. 3. Third in this last year, but tends to get beaten by Nature Strip when the big prizes are on the line.
#3 LOST AND RUNNING (11-2): High-quality sprinter who ran nicely for fourth last year. Put in a great finish to take third behind Nature Strip in the Shorts and won nicely in the Premiere (G2), but has yet to win at Group 1 level.
#4 MASKED CRUSADER (10-1): Went very close to winning this race last year, so has the ability. Best run for a while when third to Lost and Running in the Premiere Oct. 1. Looks to be peaking in a similar fashion to last year but may need good track conditions to be at his best.
#5 MAZU (16-1): Improving sprinter who put six wins together last season. Earned his Group 1 stripes in the Doomben 10,000 (G1) in May and pushed Lost and Running hard in the Premiere Oct. 1. Had his chance when fifth to Nature Strip in the Shorts.
#6 PRIVATE EYE (12-1): In great form, having lumped a big weight to win the Gilgai (G2) Oct. 1. Has already won a major spring race at Randwick, taking out the one-mile Epsom H. (G1) in 2021, but usually wants more than six furlongs and could find the best too speedy.
#7 OVERPASS (50-1): Consistent sprinter who is on the improve. Ran a great race for second to Nature Strip in the Shorts, but that was his best run by far in the highest class and a little disappointing when sixth in the Premiere two weeks later.
#8 INGRATIATING (40-1): Multiple Group 1 placegetter from the Godolphin stable. A fast-finishing second to stablemate Paulele in the Schillaci (G2) Oct. 8 and will handle wet ground, but has never won at Group 1 or Group 2 level in eight attempts.
#9 JOYFUL FORTUNE (60-1): Won twice in Hong Kong, and showed his fitness with a devastating four-length victory on his Australian debut at Flemington Sept. 18. However, that was in a Rating 70 event, and his official rating is well below all his opponents. Victory would be a shock.
#10 SHADES OF ROSE (40-1): Speedy mare has won seven of her nine starts, mostly against her own gender. Beat a good field of fillies and mares well in the Sheraco (G2) in September, but needs to improve a lot to win here.
#11 JACQUINOT (10-1): Yes Yes Yes proved in 2019 that a three-year-old can win this race, and this sophomore showed immense strength at the line to win the Golden Rose (G1). That was at seven furlongs, however, and he may be suited better over that trip than back here at six.
#12 GIGA KICK (19-1): Unbeaten three-year-old gelding who has shown super speed in his four starts to date, most recently in the Danehill (G2) in Melbourne. Has yet to face anything in this class