Waller superstar sprinter on track for TJ Smith defence over The Championships

After bypassing Saturday’s The Galaxy, star sprinter Nature Strip stayed bang on track for his TJ Smith Stakes defence with a narrow trial win under a vice-like grip at Rosehill on Monday.

The Chris Waller-trained gelding narrowly edged out the Greg Hickman-trained Tudor Music in a 895m heat with leading jockey James McDonald never testing the multiple Group 1 winner.

The son of Nicconi clocked a smart 54.24 seconds (last 600m in 34.49) for the heat.

Nature Strip and Tudor Music hit the line together in an 895m trial at @rosehillgardens on Monday with the verdict, narrowly, going to Nature Strip. Kariba finished in third place. @[email protected]@[email protected]/ygFOiM3M7q

Waller had elected to give his leading sprinter a tune up at his home track instead of lining up in last Saturday’s The Galaxy, where Nature Strip had held a nomination ands was the nominal topweight.

The Joseph Pride-trained Eduardo produced a sensational performance in his absence, leading all the way to score by 3-1/2 lengths at Rosehill.

Earlier this preparation Eduardo had fought back to edge out Nature Strip to win the Group 2 Challenge Stakes and the pair are set for a much anticipated rematch in the TJ Smith on April 10 at Randwick.

TAB.com.au still give Nature Strip the edge to defend his TJ Smith Stakes crown with the Lightning Stakes winner the outright $5 favourite.

Eduardo edging out Nature Strip. Photo: Mark Evans/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Eduardo had his price slashed from $15 to $7 following his The Galaxy win and he was alone on the second line of betting at $6 on Monday morning.

Godolphin star Bivouac is $7 with the James Cummings-trained sprinter set to have a new jockey for the sprint following confirmation by Glen Boss that he has been replaced by Hugh Bowman on the VRC Sprint Classic victor.

Meanwhile, Doncaster Mile contender I Am Superman also enjoyed a vital tune up at Rosehill on Monday.

The Peter and Paul Snowden-trained galloper was making his first public appearance since confirming his Doncaster credentials by winning the Group 2 Ajax Stakes.

Jockey Kerrin McEvoy gave him an easy time of it in the 895m heat, settling near the back of the field before I Am Superman did his best work late to hit the line in fourth, finishing close to two lengths off the winner.

Former Chris Waller and ex-Singapore galloper Charge, now with @DPayneRacing, leads all the way to win a trial at @rosehillgardens on Monday from #TheGong winner Archedemus, Willowheart and I Am Superman running on late. @tabcomaupic.twitter.com/StqdeQnubK

Originally published asEasy morning as Nature Trip coasts in TJ Smith tune up

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