Royal Ascot bound sprinters given final hit-out

Three Royal Ascot bound Australian sprinters will have their last serious piece of work in a jump-out at Flemington before their departure for the UK.

The Chris Waller-trained pair of Nature Strip and Home Affairs will be joined by the Anthony and Sam Freedman-trained Artorius in the specially arrange 900m hit-out down the Flemington straight on Friday.

The trio kick-off in the opening heat at 7.20am and are scheduled to depart for the UK on June 1.

Nature Strip and Home Affairs had jump-outs at Rosehill last week before travelling to Melbourne while Artorius also had a jump-out at Balnarring recently.

Waller has indicated Nature Strip is likely to start in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes (1000m) on June 14 with Home Affairs to join Artorius in the Group 1 Platinum Jubilee Stakes (1200m) on June 19.

A win by Nature Strip in the King’s Stand may entice connections to consider a start in the Platinum Jubilee, although Waller is mindful of not wanting to overtax him having already named the sprinter to take the Chris Waller Racing slot in the $15 million The Everest (1200m) at Randwick in October.

Nature Strip won The Everest last year having run fourth and seventh in the previous two runnings.

A winner of 20 of his 37 starts, Nature Strip has amassed almost $18 million in prize money.

At the other end of the scale, Home Affairs is headed for the breeding barn after Royal Ascot as a dual Group 1 winner down the straight at Flemington but has not been seen since finishing ninth in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) in March.

Artorius, winner of the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield as a two-year-old, has not raced since finishing sixth in the Newmarket Handicap.

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