The middle day of Betfair Weekend at Ascot looks set to provide a big-paying Saturday Placepot. Timeform's Keith Melrose throws his hat into the ring...
The Summer Mile is quite simple, really: if Carlton House is fully effective at a mile, he wins; if he’s not quite, he’ll finish in the three.
13:35 - In hell, this is how all meetings will start- with a 24-runner handicap restricted to lady amateur riders. Temptation is to marry more accomplished riders with consistent horses, which brings us to Lindoro; he's ridden by leading lady Katie Walsh and, following resurgence in spring, has consolidated his form with three placed efforts on his last three starts.
The decent rider/consistent recent profile method quickly exhausted, we're going to add a couple of horses who could be ahead of their respective marks. Our Boy Jack hasn't been out of the first three in five runs this season and took another step forward when winning at Chester last time, while Day of The Eagle remains with plenty to play with on old form after a win at the same track last time and represents the yard of Mick Easterby, which is well versed in setting horses off on a roll.
14:10 - There are three once-raced maiden winners in this field- Arthurs Secret, Toronado and Verdane- but we'll need only two to progress, the first two named representing the best option. Experience certainly won't be an issue, especially in the case of Toronado who looked both clued up and potentially smart at Newbury last month, while nothing in the field has run more than twice, anyway.
14:45 - The fact this handicap contains twelve runners is no more than a saving grace, as it's a fiercely competitive three-year-old heat on a Saturday card featuring a number we'll no doubt get used to appearing in top handicaps. Chil The Kite is respected, but he's likely to carry an inordinate amount of the pool and we're going to take three against him in the hope of an upset. Prince Alzain was undone only by the draw over C&D last time and was arguably unlucky at Epsom on his previous start. My Queenie is among the least exposed in the field, as she showed when improving to finish second on her handicap debit over C&D last time and may well improve again. Finally, Takeitfromalady has been a massive success story since fitted with blinkers and has been altogether harshly dealt with for winning at Windsor last time.
15:20 - The Summer Mile is quite simple, really: if Carlton House is fully effective at a mile, he wins; if he's not quite, he'll finish in the three. Anything else would be a significant surprise, so bank on Lizzie's colt.
15:55 - From the sublime to the ridiculous, as we're now faced with the 28-runner International Stakes. Our man Tony McFadden put up Lightning Cloud at 16.015/1 earlier in the week and I see no reason to desert Kevin Ryan's gelding: both of his runs at this track this year make him a solid choice. Behind him, we're taking another couple of proven Ascot performers in the shape of recent Buckingham Palace Stakes winner Eton Forever and Noble Citizen, who finished third in this race last year. Finally, we're going to throw in Van Ellis, who was arguably a long time in coming good but looked firmly on the up when winning at Chester last time. It looks increasingly as though this is his sort of trip and he's open to more progress than most.
16:35 - Those responsible for the King George deserve kudos as, in a small way, they've rather stolen the Olympic Games' thunder by putting on a truly international sporting event in south-east England six days early. The race for gold looks tantalisingly difficult, with bona fide top-notchers pitched in alongside a number who'd fancy their chances in an ordinary year. That said, any colour of medal will do and that brings us down on Sea Moon. He's cruised through his heats to get here, including when he equalled his personal best to trounce Dunaden in the Hardwicke Stakes over C&D last time. He's probably got a bit left up his sleeve for what's likely to be seen as his final and is easily our most solid choice to end this potentially lucrative perm.
13:35 - 13, 21, 23
14:10 - 1, 4
14:45 - 6, 7, 9
15:20 - 2
15:55 - 1, 15, 18, 20
16:35 - 7
= 72 lines