Ascot doesn't make great appeal for Placepot purposes, so Keith Melrose tackles the admittedly tough-looking Newmarket card in search of a big windfall.
"There’s a strong case for saying that both Ostaad and Number One London should be a shorter price in this maiden."
13:40 - This is almost certainly a good maiden, albeit perhaps not the strongest this track is likely to see before the turf season is out. Some of the newcomers raise an interest, but in our position we're best off sticking with experience and, in this case, Godolphin. Both Tarikhi and Winterlude are as well-bred as you'd expect given connections and showed plenty on their respective debuts, especially the former who went down only to an experienced stablemate and was in turn clear of the rest.
14:15 - The first of two valuable sales races on the card, and this one would appear to revolve around a pair that contested a similar event at this track just a fortnight ago. That day, Victrix Ludorum beat Badr Al Badoor in relatively comfortable fashion on just her second start, but there's reason to think that the apparently well-regarded runner-up can also improve, not least for today's longer trip, so both are taken. The fact they are drawn on pretty much opposite ends of the field also helps us hedge our bets somewhat.
14:50 - This is a hot renewal of the Tattersalls Million, it not being at all difficult to imagine several of them in Group races by the end of the season- indeed, two of them (Havana Gold and Ollie Olga) already have a Group 3 win to their name. We're going for a different angle, though, at least in the case of Race And Status, who created a deep impression when running out a cosy winner at Newbury a couple of weeks ago. The fact that race looked so strong (and yielded a sound timefigure) only augments the promise Race And Status holds in both the short and long term.
Looking further on, we're not going to need too many lines later on in the card, so put Ghurair in for some insurance. His debut win looks very good now (Dundonnell third, Afonso de Sousa fourth) and he was seemingly undone by inexperience above all when a beaten favourite in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood just a couple of weeks later.
15:20 - I'd originally put three or even four lines aside for this tricky handicap, but a couple of non-runners this morning, taking the field from 15 to a more manageable 13, means we may get away with a couple. First in is Prussian, who's been on the go all summer yet is still getting better, her third over this trip on testing ground at Chester representing a career-best effort. Second spot goes to the unexposed Anjaz, for whom the testing conditions may be a worry given she was something of a non-stayer on her sole try over further and didn't find all that seemed likely last time, but she remains with more potential than the vast majority of these.
15:55 - There's a strong case for saying that both Ostaad (10 lengths clear of the remainder when runner-up to Concise on debut) and Number One London (shaped very well in a notably strong Ascot maiden) should be a shorter price in this maiden. Either way, they stand out for our purposes and I'd be surprised if neither was to make the first three.
16:25 - We simply can't ignore Vow in the final leg, William Haggas' filly potentially a class apart from her rivals in this listed race remembering her Lingfield Oaks Trial win and her subsequent fourth at Epsom. Even so, it'd knock out plenty of lines were she to bomb, and we're including a solid backup option in Set To Music. She's consistent, has recently showed her form on testing ground and has form in advance of most of these.
13:40 - 10, 11
14:15 - 3, 19
14:50 - 4, 9
15:20 - 2, 12
15:55 - 6, 7
16:25 - 9, 21
= 64 lines