Nature Strip rides clear to win the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot

Nature Strip draws clear to win the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot on Tuesday accompanied by the riderless Khaadem. Picture: Sue Orpwood


Royal Ascot racegoers were left rubbing their eyes in disbelief as two horses flashed past the winning post together with one of them having no jockey, writes Dave Wright.

Australian star Nature Strip powered to victory in the King’s Stand Stakes on Tuesday but for a time it was Khaadem who attracted the most attention.

What had happened to his rider?

Jamie Spencer was the unfortunate man after he was left sitting on the back gate when Khaadem sat down on his haunches fractionally before the stalls opened.

The six-year-old trained by Charlie Hills was slowly away but quickly weaved his way through the field and moved almost alongside Chris Waller’s Nature Strip as he raced four lengths clear.

Winning jockey James McDonald said: “We had a bit of a scare when I thought one was coming for me and it had no rider on - I thought that was a bit unfair!

“The way Nature Strip quickened up, the way he executed his gallop, was scintillating. He was just idling along and I didn’t think a horse could come with him, so when the horse appeared without the rider, I did get a bit of a fright.”

Nature Strip may now try and follow in the footsteps of fellow Australian sprinter Choisir and Blue Point by completing the big Royal Ascot sprint double in Saturday’s Platinum Jubilee Stakes.

Earlier on the opening afternoon of the five-day meeting, Baaeed showed exactly why he is the world’s highest-rated racehorse.

Ridden by Jim Crowley, the 1/6 favourite cruised to victory in the Queen Anne Stakes, finishing a length and three-quarters ahead of Godolphin-owned Real World.”

Crowley commented: “It doesn’t get any easier than that. Everything went smoothly. Baaeed got a lovely tow into the race, the ground is beautiful, and I just let him stretch out for the last furlong of the race. It was like clockwork.

“William and Maureen Haggas (trainers) have done an unbelievable job with him and it is a pleasure to get on him and do the steering. This horse is a superstar.”

Godolphin completed a double with 2,000 Guineas winner Coroebus

(10/11) landing the St James’s Palace Stakes and 20/1 chance Dubai Future running away with what had looked like a super competitive renewal of the Wolferton Stakes.

Dubai Future’s rider, Danny Tudhope, also won the concluding Copper Horse Handicap on the David O’Meara-trained Get Shirty to complete a 356/1 double.

Hollie Doyle won the Coventry Stakes on 8/1 Bradsell from Archie Watson’s yard, while the Ascot Stakes went to Coltrane (14/1) with young Callum Hutchinson riding for Andrew Balding

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