Waller: 'Everything looks right' for Strip

5 November 2021 Written by Tim Yeatman

It's been a huge week for Chris Waller and his team, highlighted by Verry Elleegant's triumph in the Melbourne Cup, but with one day remaining in the Flemington Carnival, the champion trainer isn't finished just yet.

Ten-time Group 1- winning mare Verry Elleegant arrived home to Sydney on Friday morning to a hero's welcome.

"The staff spent some time with her this morning, as I did as well, we all had a photo taken with her and this little beauty here (the Lexus Melbourne Cup)," Waller said.

"It was a very special moment for all of us, what a blast the last few days has been."

But attention now quickly turns to another stable star shooting to win another G1, with Nature Strip the unbackable favourite to take out Saturday's $2 million Darley Sprint Classic down the Flemington straight.

"His run in The Everest was simply unbelievable, and each of his runs this preparation for that matter," Waller said.

The sprinting star who is in scintillating form won the Darley Sprint Classic two years ago before being beaten by a flying Bivouac in the 2020 edition of the sprint feature.

"He took a while to find form last spring," Waller admitted.

"Everything looks right for tomorrow."

Waller has three other runners in the race - September Run, Shaquero, and Ranch Hand - and he believes all are winning hopes if Nature Strip isn't the victor.

Hungry Heart will represent the stable in the G1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000) and Waller says the mare should appreciate the rise in trip.

"2000m I expect her to improve and go to a new level," Waller said.

And it seems the stable may have unearthed another champion, with star filly Espiona producing one of the runs of the Flemington Carnival to blow her rivals away in a Listed race on Oaks Day and impress Waller.

"She's had something special even since she was a two-year-old, but we've just sat knowing she wasn't quite ready to pull the trigger," he said.

"James (McDonald) had the finger on the trigger yesterday when she shot clear, it was quite special to watch.

"A shining star for the future."

Espiona will head to the paddock before returning for an autumn campaign.