Ascot Placepot: Friday November 21

Barry Geraghty could have a good day at Ascot
Barry Geraghty could have a good day at Ascot

There's a good card at Ascot this afternoon and that is where we head for Friday's attempt at the Placepot...

13:00- Proceedings at Ascot commence with an interesting maiden hurdle which features a number of promising hurdling debutants from powerful yards, notably Alisier D'Irlande, Arpege D'Alene and Saint Charles, representing Hobbs, Nicholls and Henderson respectively. The expensively-purchased Alisier D'Irlande has unsurprisingly been put in as favourite starting out for his in-form stable, but the application of a hood first time is a bit of a concern and we will instead side with Arpege D'Alene and Saint Charles. Arpege D'Alene finished third in a Deauville bumper and is of obvious interest now in the care of Paul Nicholls, while Point winner Saint Charles made his debut in a bumper the yard traditionally targets its better types at, and he is entitled to improve markedly for the initial racecourse experience. 

13:30- The novice chase may have attracted a small field, but it is an interesting contest, all five holding claims, and we will side with Puffin Billy, who ought to come on for his reappearance run at Exeter (winner has won again), and Boondooma who is a chasing type on looks and may settle better in the first-time hood. Boondooma is likely to be carrying few units, but he hasn't been with his excellent trainer for long and remains capable of better, so is an attractive Placepot proposition. 

14:05- Jolly's Cracked It made a sparkling return to action here last time, decisively beating Clondaw Banker, and he should prove difficult to beat, for all he has to shoulder a 5 lb penalty. Jolly's Cracked It was value for more than the winning margin having idled in the lead, and he can carry on improving. 

14:40- Niceonefrankie is of obvious interest having taken this contest last year from the same mark, beating subsequent big-race winner Double Ross decisively. His form tailed off towards the end of the campaign, but he can resume from a lenient mark as a consequence and is the horse to beat. He probably isn't a banker proposition, though, and it is worth including Al Alfa in the permutation as he represents the in-form Hobbs yard and should improve on a lacklustre effort at Wincanton, when he shaped as if in need of the run.

15:15- Ardkilly Witness gives the impression that he can win off his current mark, and three miles on soft ground, at a stiff track such as this, could prove to be his optimum conditions. Ardkilly Witness failed to make an impression in a competitive race over C&D last time, though he didn't appear to have a hard race and should be given another chance to build on an encouraging reappearance. He is joined in the Placepot by Josies Orders as he shaped better than the bare result may indicate on his chasing bow at Carlisle, losing his place when hampered over an inadequate trip. A three-time winner over hurdles last season, including here, Josies Orders will benefit from the return to three miles and should give a good account. 

15:50- Sweet Deal starts life in handicaps from a fair-looking mark having won in the style of a smart prospect at Uttoxeter and ought to be difficult to beat. A useful Flat performer, Sweet Deal is by no means fully exposed in this sphere and should continue to progress. He looks banker material

Recommendations:
13:00- 2, 9
13:30- 1, 4
14:05- 2
14:40- 4, 6
15:15- 2, 6
15:50- 3
= 16 lines

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