By Brad Gray
Six months ago, there was no horse in the country that could match the sustained speed of Nature Strip.
Enter Anders. The three-year-old colt still has a mighty long way to go to even be mentioned in the same sentence as the world’s number one ranked sprinter but he is well on his way. Not to mention that Anders is equally breathtaking to watch.
Anders’ domination of the $160,000 Group Three TAB San Domenico Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill, where he beat Peltzer and Mamaragan, now poses an interesting dilemma for co-trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace.
The G1 Moir Stakes had been pencilled in as the third up assignment for the son of Not A Single Doubt but now there is surely the temptation to push on to The Run To The Rose (1200m) in a fortnight.
That would not only sets up a mouth-watering clash with resuming duo Farnan and Rothfire but also gives Anders the chance to prove himself over 1200m, a box he still needs to tick if he is to be considered a serious contender for The TAB Everest in October.
That’s not to say that Maher won’t be kept very busy over the coming days with slot holders making enquiries. Aquis, of course, own a slot but given the operation also owns Farnan, it was widely thought that it is the Golden Slipper winner’s spot to lose. Maybe not now.
“I wouldn’t be afraid to put him into any race,” quipped Maher.
“The Everest, you would have to consider it. He was very impressive. I can’t wait to have a look at the sectionals. I was a little nervous when he was peeling off 10s but to hold that, there are not many that run those sectionals and be strong on the line.”
“I think he could (get 1200m). Last start he relaxed very well. I was mindful he was going from a wet track to a good track so I wanted to keep that ping in him.”
Anders smashed the clock, stopping it at 1:02.67s, not far off Westicaro’s track record set back in 2007 (1:02.51).
“I was saying to one of the owners that he is possibly our best. I was hoping he would do something like that today,” continued Maher.
“We always had a very high opinion of him. What he showed us at home he didn’t transfer it to the track. You can see the way he has developed and matured from a two-year-old into a three-year-old colt, it’s a very big difference.
“He stretched, he’s strong but was a little bit keen today. I might have been a bit soft on him. He’s a very exciting horse.”
James McDonald ripped through the first 500m in a very slick 28.89s but the champion jockey revealed he had no concerns in the run.
“The first furlong I went at my own speed but I let him increase around the two bends thinking that if I have them stretched a fair way from home, they were all first up and with the run under his belt, it would take a good horse to beat him, especially on quick ground,” said McDonald.
“He has such a powerful action. He loves using himself.”