Australian Thoroughbred

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27/2/2020 Latest Newmarket Hcp news

Chris Waller has ruled multiple Group 1 winner Nature Strip (Nicconi) out of Saturday week’s Newmarket Handicap (Gr 1, 1200m) at Flemington, with the five-year-old instead set to contest Randwick’s Challenge Stakes (Gr 2, 1000m) on the same afternoon. Nature Strip had been allocated the welter burden of 58 kilograms in the Newmarket, the weights for which will now rise one kilogram following his defection, and Waller said the Challenge provided a better stepping stone for his star sprinter, who is being targeted at the TJ Smith Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) in April prior to embarking on a Royal Ascot campaign. "It has not been an easy decision but we have now made a final call to bring him back to Sydney and prepare him for the Challenge Stakes,” Waller said.

A total of 30 horses remain in contention for the Newmarket Handicap after yesterday's release of weights. Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (Gr 1, 1000m) winner Gytrash (Lope De Vega) is second topweight with 56 kilograms with Zoutori (Zoustar) and Deprive (Denman) next in line with 54 kilograms. Loving Gaby (I Am Invincible), the winner of the Manikato Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) at Moonee Valley last October and a first-up third in the Lightning Stakes has 51.5 kilograms and is one of 11 three-year-olds remaining in the entries, which also includes Exceedance (Exceed And Excel) (53 kilograms), Bivouac (Exceed And Excel) (53 kilograms) and Libertini (I Am Invincible) (50 kilograms).

Loving Gaby was promoted to the bookies $4.50 favourite for the Newmarket following the publication of yesterday’s weights and Craig Williams, who has ridden the three-year-old in her last three starts, is brimming with excitement ahead of next month’s assignment. "I galloped her before she resumed in the Lightning and she galloped solidly and I loved her attitude as she was a lot more settled,’’ Williams told Racing. com. "Then she ran and I believe if we were in the same race (she was on the opposite side of the track to quinella horses Gytrash and Redzel), we would have won the Lightning. Then, working her yesterday morning, I couldn’t be more impressed how much she’s come on from her first-up run and I’m really excited going into the Newmarket now.’’