Chris Waller’s Nature Strip and Haut Brion Her have had their final hitouts for The Everest as dawn broke at Rosehill Gardens.
Nature Strip’s jockey James McDonald believes the horse is right near his peak for the $15 million feature and he doesn’t mind the fact he has drifted in the betting.
“He likes getting out in the odds and when he does he normally performs pretty well. He doesn’t like that short quote,” McDonald joked.
“One thing I did notice is he definitely looks a lot better in his coat. He’s starting to come through so that’s a sign he’s improving all the time.
“Third up is where Chris wanted him to peak. He’s a horse that does like his races spaced.”
Waller is confident he has the six-year-old Nicconi gelding exactly where he needs to be for his grand final this weekend at Randwick.
“We know that we’ve got a very good horse,” Waller said.
“We’ve just got to try and get him to the same place that he’s been when he’s been running these high ratings, enough to put his ratings up with the best horses in the world.
“I’m going into Saturday’s race fairly confident that he can run up to his best form.”
Waller’s other Everest hopeful, Haut Brion Her, also impressed hoop Brenton Avdulla with her work on the course proper on Tuesday.
While she has been a late call-up for the race, Avdulla is happy to be on board.
“It’s not just a last-minute sort of thing,” Avdulla said.
“I remember galloping her five weeks ago after her first up win and she gave me the feel of a Group One mare.”
Waller is also bullish about the prospects of Haut Brion Her, whose owners Three Bridges Thoroughbreds have acquired Waller’s Everest slot for 2020 in order to run the mare in the world’s richest race on turf.
“With Haut Brion Her, I think they’ve (Three Bridges) made a very good choice,” Waller said.
“She’s an exciting horse. Outside of her last start where she drew wide and things went against her, she’s never been out of the first two.
‘”So we’re confident she can bounce back into the first two and hence the reason for her place in this great race.”
The barrier draw for The Everest will be held on Tuesday night.