Royal Ascot Placepot: Friday June 19

Stravagante can follow up his impressive Epsom win
Stravagante can follow up his impressive Epsom win

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

Stravagante has been brought along quietly by his expert trainer, and he looks well capable of handling the step up to Group company...

14:30- This is a tricky race to call, a number of unexposed fillies pitted against one another. Wesley Ward added to his tremendous record with juveniles at this meeting when sending out Acapulco to score in the Queen Mary, and he has a couple of good chances here with Laxfield Road and Back At The Ranch. Laxfield Road was particularly impressive when romping to an 11-length win on debut and she is the first horse that we will turn to. She is joined in the permutation by the Clive Cox-trained Our Joy who shaped with an abundance of promise on debut, getting the hang of things late on and narrowly failing to overhaul a horse who subsequently ran well in the Queen Mary.

15:05- Only seven go to post, which makes things slightly tricky from a Placepot perspective, but Stravagante created such a big impression when registering a wide-margin win at Epsom and he ought to go very close. Stravagante has been brought along quietly by his expert trainer, and he looks well capable of handling the step up to Group company. We will bank on Sir Michael Stoute's rapidly progressive three-year-old.

15:40- This is a fantastic addition to the Royal Ascot programme and has attracted a number of exciting, unexposed three-year-olds. Hootenanny was tremendously impressive when winning the five-furlong Windsor Castle Stakes at last year's Royal meeting and it says plenty about his ability and versatility that he was able to finish the campaign with a win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf over a mile. Six furlongs on fast ground will arguably prove to be Hootenanny's optimum conditions and he looks sure to go well. We will also include Limato as he was flawless during his juvenile campaign and, though it was disappointing to see him lose his unbeaten record at Haydock, this fast surface will see him to best effect, so he should give his running.

16:20- Found is sure to be popular, representing the in-form O'Brien/Moore combination, but she faces two high-class rivals in Lucida and Ervedya, and doesn't deserve to be such an overwhelming favourite. Ervedya was beaten by Found last season but she's returned an improved performer, impressing with her burst of speed when winning the French 1000 Guineas, and she looks overpriced today, likely to carry far fewer Placepot units than Found. Lucida did plenty wrong in the 1000 Guineas (awkward leaving stalls, keen, in front too soon) so it says a lot for her talent that she was able to go so close in what looked a strong renewal of the first fillies' classic, and she's sure to give a good account.

17:00- Igider has some very strong maiden form to his name and he bounced back from a disappointing return at Hamilton to run out an impressive winner at Doncaster recently. The well-bred and expensively-purchased Igider should still have plenty more to offer with just five starts to his name and is the first horse that we will turn to in the Placepot. We'll also include Ajman Bridge as he often runs well in competitive handicaps and looks to have optimum conditions this afternoon.

17:35- Aloft clearly sets the standard based on his efforts as a juvenile, which included a runner-up effort in the RP Trophy, but this trip represents a massive question mark for a horse not exactly bred to excel over two miles, and his stable companion Bantry Bay makes more appeal in the Placepot. Bantry Bay has shown plenty of promise in maiden company and is likely to relish this test of stamina, looking an out-and-out galloper when scoring in impressive style last time.

Recommendations:
14:30- 11, 14
15:05- 7
15:40- 7, 10
16:20- 2, 6
17:00- 8, 17
17:35- 3
= 16 lines

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