Nature Strip ruled out of Platinum Jubilee

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 five-furlong King’s Stand Stakes.

Trainer Chris Waller greets Nature Strip after the win at Royal Ascot.Credit:Getty Images

Connections considered whether to attempt to emulate Choisir, the first-ever Australian-trained horse to win at Royal Ascot who 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 now going into quarantine to be aimed instead at the defence of his Everest crown at Randwick in October.

Asked by 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,” Lyons said.

But Waller and McDonald could still bring home another trophy for Australia with Nature Strip’s stablemate Home Affairs.

The dual group 1 winner back home is favourite to win the Platinum Jubilee Stakes over six furlongs, but it will be a tough task against 26 quality rivals, which will include the Anthony and Sam Freedman-trained Artorius.

McDonald will ride Home Affairs, who is owned by breeding juggernaut Coolmore, while Artorius will be ridden by Irish jockey Jamie Spencer. Spencer, who has competed in Australia before, finishing fifth in the 2016 Melbourne Cup – won by Prince Of Penzance – on Big Orange.

The Platinum Jubilee Stakes will be run at 1.20am AEST Sunday morning.

Artorius will be one of the main chances in Sunday morning’s Platinum Jubilee Stakes.Credit:Getty

Spencer will don Newgate Farm’s red silks with gold stars on Artorius, the same colours which adorned Cox Plate winner State Of Rest in his group 1 Prince Of Wales’ Stakes win earlier this week at Royal Ascot. State Of Rest, trained by Joseph O’Brien, is targeting a title defence in this year’s Cox Plate.

On Friday morning, 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 with the Frankie Dettori-ridden Stradivarius missing 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,” said O’Brien.

“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.“

AAP, with Damien Ractliffe

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