Nature Strip wins turf's biggest price, The Everest

Sydney (AFP) –


Star sprinter Nature Strip, ridden by James McDonald, lived up to his billing as favourite to win the world's richest turf race, The Everest, in front of thousands of cheering punters in Sydney on Saturday.

The seven-year-old gelding, trained by Chris Waller, led virtually all the way to hold off a fast-finishing Masked Crusader and collect a whopping Aus$6.2 million (US$4.6 million) for barely a one-minute sprint.

On a blustery and overcast day, Eduardo came third at Royal Randwick in the first major event in Sydney with crowds -- capped at 10,000 -- since a months-long Covid lockdown was eased.

Normally, 40,000 fans would pack the venue, but those there provided some much-needed atmosphere to a sport which, like most others, has suffered under pandemic restrictions.