Australian champ ruled out of Royal Ascot double bid



Australian sprint superstar Nature Strip will not shoot for a rare Royal Ascot double after connections decided not to run him in the Platinum Jubilee Stakes.

The Chris Waller-trained Everest winner has been one of the stars of this week’s royal meeting when, ridden by New Zealand jockey James McDonald on Tuesday, he stormed to victory by four-and-a-half lengths in the 1000-metre King’s Stand Stakes.

Connections considered whether to attempt to emulate Choisir, the first-Australian-trained horse to win at Royal Ascot. He went on to complete the King’s Stand and Jubilee Stakes double 19 years ago.

But they decided ultimately that Nature Strip would be better going into quarantine for a return home to be aimed instead at the defence of his Everest crown at Randwick in October.

Asked by website if Nature Strip would run in Saturday’s Platinum, the horse’s managing owner Rod Lyons said: “No.

“I think there was a fair bit of pressure on the boss to get him to run, but he said he’s done his job, let’s get him quarantined, get him home and get him ready for The Everest.”

But Waller and McDonald could still bring home another trophy for Australia with Nature Strip’s stablemate Home Affairs, a dual Group 1 winner back home. He is favourite to win the Platinum Jubilee Stakes over 1200 metres – but it will be a tough task against 26 quality rivals.

On Thursday, the Ascot Gold Cup was won by Kyprios, who held off Mojo Star and Stradivarius to earn Ireland’s master trainer Aidan O’Brien an eighth triumph in the week’s signature race.

The 13-8 favourite, ridden superbly by Ryan Moore, won by half a length. Stradivarius, ridden by Frankie Dettori, missed out on a fourth triumph in the race after struggling to get into the right position to strike on the outside.

“We’re delighted with him, Ryan gave him a great ride,” O’Brien said.

“We couldn’t race him for the rest of the year – he’s a brave horse and we think there’s more to come from him.

“It’s incredible, and it was great Stradivarius was here and he ran in this race. It makes these races even more special.”


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