5f King’s Stand Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Class 1)
The first of the two big Group 1 sprints can go the way of Australia. The Chris Waller trained NATURE STRIP has been a bit of a beast in terms of his successes in the sprinting division in Australia and gets an opportunuty to finally showcase his talent at Royal Ascot having been denied a chance due to COVID over the last two seasons. Waller has only ever brought over one other horse and that was another sprinter in Brazen Beau who finished second in the King’s Stand.
At the age of seven, punters might be thinking that Nature Strip is getting on, but the reality is that his performances are better than ever and he comes into this only losing once in his last five to his stablemate and current Platinum Jubilee favourite, Home Affairs.
The stiff five furlongs and fast ground is going to be perfect for Nature Strip and he should get a nice toe in to the race from the Wesley Ward trained Golden Pal, who is currently battling him for favouritism. Golden Pal flopped on his only start in the UK last season in the Nunthorpe and was just beaten by The Lir Jet on his only other start at Royal Ascot.
Whilst there is no doubt that Golden Pal is a quality sprinter, his best work is on a round track rather than a straight whereas the Aussie sprinter has no such concerns.
The market has it as a two-horse race and whilst the likes of Mooneista and Twilight Calls probably have some improvement in them, I can’t see either being currently good enough to beat the highest rated sprinter in the world in Nature Strip.
11/4 might be a big price come the end of this 5f sprint if Nature Strip can reproduce something close to his best Aussie form.
1.5pts win Nature Strip @11/4, 15:40 Royal Ascot, Tuesday