The Aussie champion joined Life Is Good on top of the second edition of the LONGINES World's Best Racehorse Rankings for 2022 with an easy victory in the TJ Smith Stakes, which is the premier weight-for-age sprint of the Australian Autumn.
That made it Group 1 win number eight for Nature Strip, a once enigmatic sprinter that had a love/hate relationship with punters but following a poor 2020 spring campaign, he has become a model of consistency.
In 10 starts following a well beaten second in the VRC Sprint of 2020, the son of Nicconi has won six and has become a lot more honest in defeat, with the biggest losing margin a 1.28 length second in the Challenge Stakes two starts back.
Now a rising eight-year-old, the Chris Waller-trained gelding is now equally adept at taking a sit as he is at leading and along with having straight track form, he's won majors on Good 3 and Heavy 9 tracks, so handles any conditions.
While the Australian sprinting ranks haven't been as deep recently, Nature Strip has been the best sprinter in the post Black Caviar era and of past Australian Royal Ascot winners, he comes with as a strong resume as any (barring the great mare).
This Coolmore-owned colt progressed from a handy juvenile to be Australia's leading three-year-old sprinter in the spring of 2021, after bolting in with the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes on Derby Day at Flemington.
That 1200m Flemington event is the premier three-year-old sprint of the Melbourne Spring Carnival, ensuring the son of I Am Invincible an even more lucrative career at stud should he land a Northern Hemisphere major.
Home Affairs defeated Nature Strip first-up in the Lightning Stakes back in February and although he was fortunate that his older stablemate had troubles at the start, this colt was still brave late in the piece.
He followed that with a defeat in a fast-run Newmarket Handicap, where he was carrying weight as a three-year-old and was against the inside pattern of that affair, although was still a little disappointing.
While he's not the most talented sprinter to leave Australian shores, Home Affairs is very genuine and his two biggest peak runs have come on Good 3 tracks, so he'll relish the predicted firm ground.
This three-year-old doesn't fit the mould of your typical Aussie sprinter that has tactical speed, with Artorius a sprinter that generally struggles to muster early, a trait has proven costly down under many times.
A winner of the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes in 2021, which is Melbourne's premier two-year-old race, this colt hasn't found the winner's stall since that triumph, although has still produced some slashing runs.
After attempting the 1400m of the Golden Rose and the 1600m Caulfield Guineas last spring, it was an unconventional prep which culminated with a well beaten third behind Home Affair in the Coolmore.
Now kept to the sprinting caper, a move not to remain to the inside lanes has cost him victory in the Newmarket Handicap, 1200m straight track feature run over the Melbourne Autumn Carnival.
A big price is available due to his racing pattern, but Artorius possesses a powerful finish and if he gets a strong six-furlongs, he's capable of finishing over the top of more-fancied Home Affairs.