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Nature Strip, Giga Kick Meet Again in TJ Smith

Giga Kick defeated the champion in last year's Everest.

Nature Strip wins the 2022 King's Stand Stakes at Ascot Racecourse

Nature Strip wins the 2022 King's Stand Stakes at Ascot Racecourse

Mathea Kelley

World-class sprinter Nature Strip is set to produce a big performance as he bids to score a fourth consecutive success in the April 1 TJ Smith Stakes (G1) according to his managing owner Rod Lyons.

The 9-year-old son of Nicconi will overtake the legendary Chautauqua, who won the race three times in a row from 2015 to 2017, if he can bounce back from a slightly underwhelming first-up effort when sixth in the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (G1).

"They will know he's there, that's for sure. All reports from (trainer) Chris (Waller) are that he's going terrific and that he's as good as he's been," Lyons told "He's got a good barrier, we know he's against some great horses but we're going there full of optimism and full of confidence. Barrier 7 is a perfect draw as (jockey) James McDonald can take a look to his left and right and sum up the situation as to whether he leads or takes a sit. There'll also be a bit of give in the track, which we tend to get in Sydney. The track is just into the good range, which will suit."

The TJ Smith is no easy task however, as the two-time Australian Horse of the Year will have to defeat his Everest conquerer, the rising star Giga Kick. Three-year-old Giga Kick, the favorite in Saturday's 1,200 meter contest, was third last out in the March 4 Challenge Stakes (G2) at Randwick Racecourse.