Like father, like son for sprint star and sire

jgsetjx3x-nicconi-1Nature Strip's brilliant victory in Saturday's G1 Black Caviar Lightning S. a race Nicconi won 11 years ago, served as a reminder of the best virtues of both horses as the reigning Australian Racehorse of the Year continues to enhance the reputation of both himself and his sire.

It had been 17 years since a Lightning S. winner has been sired by another horse that has won the race - in that case Regimental Gal, whose sire was the 1998 winner General Nediym.

The sense of connection between Nicconi and Nature Strip is only strengthened by the fact that among his five top-flight victories, the Chris Waller-trained 6-year-old has now won the same two Group 1 races Nicconi won in his own comparatively short career, the Lightning and The Galaxy.

While the circumstances of their respective Lightning S. victories were quite different, with Nicconi charging down the outside to nab Wanted late in 2010, while Nature Strip held off a late challenge from stablemate September Run (Exceed And Excel) on Saturday, the end result was quite similar, with the former running 57.12s for the 1000 metres and Nature Strip 56.91s.

Widden Stud, which secured Nicconi after his Lightning S. win, has kept a very close eye on Nature Strip as he has evolved into a flagbearer for his stallion and principal Antony Thompson sees the parallels in both racing careers.

"Nature Strip, being a gelding, has raced on, but there are plenty of similarities in the race record. Both horses were able to not only win the Lightning, but also The Galaxy as well. He was a high-class sprinter Nicconi, and a very good-looking horse. I guess, Nature Strip ticks those boxes as well. The difference was that Nicconi was off to stud at the end of his 4-year-old season, unlike Nature Strip who has continued to race on," he told TDN AusNZ.

A record of producing 20 stakes winners from his seven crops to the track shows Nicconi's capacity for generating a breadth of quality horses beyond his star sprinting son. He has been inside the Top 20 on the Australian Sires' Table for each of the past four completed seasons and sits just outside, in 22nd, so far in 2020/21.

"To sire a Horse of the Year and a horse like Nature Strip has been a real feather in his cap, and seen him elevate to the next level. He has always been a very good stallion," Thompson said.

"His progeny earnings are now around $46 million, that tells you in his seven crops to the track what he has been able to do. He's had 20 stakes winners and we have seen him be a terrifically consistent sire.

"He's always in around the Top 20 sires in the land, had a couple of stakes winners this year and with great winners to runners, at around 70 per cent, which is a huge result."


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