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Australian Racing - Racing: Waller hopes rainfall stays away for Strip

Chris Waller will be on weather watch for the next few days as he admitted conditions will dictate whether Nature Strip makes an appearance in Saturday's T.J. Smith Stakes.

Currently 13/8 for this weekend's Group 1 race over 1200 metres, the son of Nicconi will be bidding to make it three wins on the bounce in the contest having won the previous two renewals.

The seven-year-old gelding was last seen finishing third in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes behind re-opposing rivals Eduardo and Shelby Sixtysix on a Heavy 9 track.

Wet weather no aid for Nature Strip

"That run, we've put down that he didn't handle that heavy track, it was just too sticky for him," managing owner Rod Lyons told

"It's a Heavy 10 today, they're predicting rain all through the week, is it going to be a different heavy if that makes sense, will he handle that better than he did the track the other day?

"That's our big query going into the race on Saturday, can he handle that really, really heavy track?"

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Nature Strip has been drawn in the outside gate of 11, but unlike the weather, that has not concerned Lyons.

Draw no problem for Lyons

"I don't think that's a problem, because he can tend to step away a little bit slowly and from out there," he said.

"James (McDonald) can do what he wants to do, whether he wants to slide forward, go to the lead, I'd much rather have him draw out there than close to the fence."

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