Australian sprinter Home Affairs has been retired to stud after connections revealed he “wasn’t 100 per cent sound” after his unplaced Royal Ascot run.
Trained by Chris Waller, Home Affairs had been a short price to emulate his King’s Stand-winning stablemate Nature Strip when he lined up in Saturday’s Platinum Jubilee Stakes.
However, the son of I Am Invincible finished 20th of 24 runners in the Group One and will now retire to Coolmore’s Australian breeding operation as a dual Group One winner having won the Coolmore Stud Stakes last year and beaten Nature Strip in this year’s Lightning.
“Home Affairs has been retired from racing and will come straight to Coolmore from quarantine following his return to Australia,” said Coolmore’s principal Tom Magnier.
“He wasn’t 100 per cent sound after the race on Saturday which may explain his disappointing effort. It was a great shame he didn’t give his true running as the form he showed in both of his Group One wins would have entitled him to win.
“Nature Strip was further proof if any was needed of the calibre of the Australian sprinters vis-a-vis the rest of the world.”
Waller was full of praise for his former inmate, adding: “Home Affairs is a fantastic looking individual and was a joy to train.
“He had everything we look for in a racehorse.”
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Chris Waller will bid to make it a Royal Ascot sprint double as his Home Affairs leads a bumper 27 declarations for Saturday’s Platinum Jubilee Stakes.
Stablemate Nature Strip blasted his rivals in Tuesday’s King’s Stand Stakes over five furlongs and Home Affairs is favourite to secure six-furlong honours having won two Group Ones so far, including when beating his fellow Waller inmate earlier in the year.
Nature Strip was entered for the Platinum Jubilee but connections opted not to double up and he was the only absentee from 28 contenders at the five-day stage.
The Wesley Ward-trained Camapanelle leads the opposition as she bids for a third Royal Ascot victory following her 2020 Queen Mary Stakes success and last year’s controversial Commonwealth Cup verdict.
She finished a head behind Dragon Symbol that day but was given the race in the stewards’ room after significant interference in the final furlong.
Dragon Symbol, who was trained by Archie Watson then and is now with Roger Varian, will be given the chance to avenge that defeat here.
There is another Australian challenger in Anthony and Sam Freedman’s Artorius with Japanese runner Grenadier Guards adding an extra international element for Mitsumasa Nakauchida.
Champions Sprint winner Creative Force, Duke of York Stakes first and third Highfield Princess and Minzaal, plus A Case Of You and Sacred are also towards the fore.
Hurricane Lane makes his eagerly-anticipated return in the Hardwicke Stakes.
Winner of the Irish Derby, Grand Prix de Paris and St Leger in an exceptional three-year-old campaign for Charlie Appleby last year, Hurricane Lane finished third in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on his final run in 2021.
Chester winner Solid Stone, who was supplemented, represents Sir Michael Stoute with Away He Goes, Broome, Mostahdaf, Living Legend, Third Realm and Layfayette completing the eight-strong field.
Appleby also holds a favourite’s chance in the Jersey Stakes via King Charles II Stakes winner Noble Truth, with Monaadah, who is unbeaten in three runs for Saeed bin Suroor another leading fancy.
The latter runs in the Shadwell colours and Alflaila is a strong second string for the owner, while Star Girls Aalmal is a rare Royal meeting runner for Henry de Bromhead, trainer of Champion Hurdle victor Honeysuckle and Cheltenham Gold Cup hero A Plus Tard.
Leopardstown maiden winner Alfred Munnings is Aidan O’Brien’s sole representative in the Chesham Stakes, while John and Thady Gosden mount a three-strong challenge via Faisal Road, Alzahir and One World.
Crypto Force, who changed hands for £900,000 on Monday, is another major contender in the seven-furlong Listed prize.
Last year’s Wokingham Stakes winner Rohaan tops a maximum field of 28 in the handicap highlight, for which the James Fanshawe-trained Fresh is well fancied after just making the cut.
The Gosdens’ Aldous Huxley is top weight for the Golden Gate Stakes and he is one of four in the Godolphin colours along with stablemate Honiton, plus Appleby’s pair of Blue Trail and Falling Shadow.
Trueshan, who missed his Gold Cup engagement due to fast ground, has been declared for the closing Queen Alexandra Stakes.
Alan King’s charge will shoulder top weight in the near two-mile-six-furlong closer, although rain would have to arrive for him to take his chance.
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Platinum Jubilee Stakes favourite Home Affairs and his fellow Australian raider Nature Strip had their first taste of Ascot with a racecourse spin on Friday morning.
Both are trained by Chris Waller, who counts the great Winx and last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Verry Elleegant among his most famous alumni, and he was on hand to watch the duo go through their paces.
Home Affairs has two Group One wins to his name while the seven-year-old Nature Strip, who is due to tackle the King’s Stand Stakes, has eight wins at the highest level during an illustrious career.
Waller reports the duo to have taken the trip to Britain in their stride and settled in well their temporary Lambourn home.
The handler said: “It was pretty much a perfect trip – they had two stopovers, one in Singapore and one in Dubai.
“Collectively they drank 120 litres of water on the flight and I think that’s the key for anyone travelling, just making sure they’re well hydrated.
“They put on a couple of kilos on the flight but now they’re back to their normal weights, so they needed to do a little bit of work this morning.
“Today was their first piece of fast work for two weeks, they just needed a little bit of stimulation and I was pretty happy with what they did.”
A handful of international raiders have based themselves in Newmarket while American handler Wesley Ward has taken his team to Chelmsford racecourse in the build up to next week’s Royal meeting.
Waller was full of praise for the facilities in Lambourn, a racing centre more celebrated for its jumps inhabitants, as well as his European training colleagues.
He said: “It’s been great, a lovely relaxed environment. It’s amazing, the facilities over here, it’s awesome – the horses just enjoy themselves and are very relaxed.
“Like a lot of training centres around the world, we train in the city and everything is a rush. There’s a lot of horses in a small area, but not here, it’s all about the horse and it’s no wonder the English, Irish and French turn up so many good winners.
“You train to your own environment, we know what works in Australia. I have the utmost respect for how hard it must be to train a horse here.
“In particular they’ve got to have their horses right for six months of the year, we have 12 months to get things right. If you miss a carnival, you’ve got another one two or three months later – but there’s only one Royal Ascot.
“The way the English and Irish trainers, and the French as well, the way they prepare them for their races is quite unique. We have prep runs, we don’t get them ready for a 2000 metre race first time.”
While Winx never made the trip to Ascot that so many fans hoped for, Waller is not a total stranger to Royal Ascot having sent Brazen Beau to race in 2015.
The son of I Am Invincible came close to victory in the then Diamond Jubilee Stakes, finding only the Ward-trained Undrafted half a length too good.
Asked what he learnt from his experience with Brazen Beau, Waller said: “That it would be achievable to win a race here one day.
“He ran very well and he was a good Australian sprinter, a young horse with a similar profile to Home Affairs. You’ve got to have a horse with a good temperament, they’ve got to be quick, they’ve got to be able to cope with good tracks or perhaps a bit of rain on the day as well.
“We almost pulled it off, so not much has changed really, we almost got it right and we’ll try to get it right this time.”
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