Saturday's attempt at the Placepot comes from the fifth and final day of Royal Ascot...
14:30- Wesley Ward's runners always have to be respected, but, as relatively unknown quantities, they don't make much appeal from Placepot purposes and we will instead side with the Irish-trained duo of Dick Whittington and Toscanini. Dick Whittington created a fantastic impression on debut, splitting subsequent Coventry Stakes runner-up Capella Sansevero and Toscanini, actually shaping like he should have won having met trouble in running. He failed to meet expectations in a first-time hood on soft ground at the Curragh but, back on a sound surface with the headgear discarded, he soon bounced back with a comfortable victory at Navan, and remains an exciting prospect. Toscanini is still a maiden but he has already proven himself to be useful, not beaten far in a six-furlong listed contest last time, and he can carry on improving.
15:05- There are some well-handicapped middle-distance types in this contest, arguably none more so than Arab Spring and Hamelin and they are the duo who we will turn to. Arab Spring has the profile of a typical Sir Michael Stoute improver, making run-to-run progress and still very much unexposed over this trip having made just the one start at a mile and a half. He hasn't hit his peak yet and looks very much like a Group performer in the making. Hamelin is another that has improved with every start, and he made a most-encouraging return over C&D last month, going down to a well-handicapped rival that benefited from an enterprising ride. He is still fairly treated and should go close.
15:45- With some tricky races to tackle later on the card, we will use the opportunity to bank on a combination of faster ground, a galloping track and the step up to a mile and a half conjuring the performance from Telescope that connections have always thought possible. The highly-regarded Telescope perhaps hasn't quite yet delivered on his lofty reputation - even though he has still shown a smart level of form - but an injury-hit campaign hindered him last year, while he hasn't been seen to best effect behind a rejuvenated Noble Mission this term. He still has the scope for better and looks sure to give a good account.
16:25- We will also play a banker in the feature race of the day, the Golden Jubilee, as we side with Slade Power. Eddie Lynam is a masterful trainer of sprinters, and has already had two winners this week courtesy of Sole Power and Anthem Alexander. Slade Power has yet to register a Group 1 win, but he is certainly good enough, his impressive and career-best performance at the Curragh serving notice that he is going to strike at the top level. A C&D winner having taken the Champions Sprint Stakes in October last year, Slade Power looks sure to launch a bold bid and should finish in the first three.
17:00- The Wokingham is always fiendishly-competitive stuff and we will have to go in mob-handed to try progressing in the Placepot. Ninjago has long since been on the radar for this contest, a strongly-run six furlongs on fast ground looking like the ideal conditions for him to produce his best, and he shaped very well on his return at Newmarket. He is joined in the Placepot by Absolutely So as he should also be suited by chasing a good gallop over six furlongs, and he comes into this on the back of a career-best effort at Goodwood last month. Dandy Boy won this contest two years ago from a 5 lb higher mark and he showed at Naas last time that there was still plenty of life left in him; he could go well carrying relatively few units. The final string to our bow will be Alben Star as he shaped well at Newmarket on his penultimate start before finding the drop back to five furlongs against him at York, and he will be suited by this stiffer test.
17:35- Mubaraza displayed that he has stamina in abundance when finishing fourth in the two-and-a-half mile Ascot Stakes here last year, and he looked better than ever when finishing runner-up at Ripon on his first start this season, possibly making his effort earlier than ideal. He didn't match expectations in the Chester Cup, but his yard were struggling at the time and a better showing is expected here. He is joined in the perm by Pique Sous as he will relish the fast surface and shaped encouragingly on his return at the Curragh last time, the effort likely to leave him spot on for this.
14:30- 4, 12
15:05- 1, 13
17:00- 9, 12, 17, 21
17:35- 6, 8
= 32 lines