Royal Ascot Placepot: Wednesday June 18

The Royal Ascot Placepot could pay well on Wednesday
The Royal Ascot Placepot could pay well on Wednesday

Big fields are the order of the day at Royal Ascot on Wednesday and the Placepot looks sure to pay well...

14:30- The Jersey Stakes presents us with a tricky opening leg to the Placepot as it features many progressive and unexposed three-year-olds, but Sheikh Hamdan holds a strong hand and, out of his trio, Muwaary and Mustajeeb could be the pair to concentrate on. Muwaary won his only start as a juvenile last season, overcoming obvious signs of inexperience to prevail, and he made a mockery of his opening handicap mark on his return this term, readily pulling clear of his rivals in what is traditionally a strong handicap (form has already worked out well). He then showed further improvement to finish a close-up fourth in the French Guineas, despite pulling hard in the early stages, and he should be ideally suited by a strongly-run seven furlongs. Mustajeeb was put well in his place by Kingman in the Irish 2000 Guineas, finishing a seven-length third, but John Gosden's colt is clearly an exceptional talent, and Mustajeeb wouldn't need to improve much on that performance to be right in the mix here.  

15:05- The Wesley Ward-trained two-year-old Spanish Pipedream is sure to be popular after the well-backed Hootenanny destroyed his rivals in the Windsor Castle, but, as a relatively unknown quantity up against some potentially-smart rivals, she could be worth opposing from a Placepot perspective. The place to start is with Anthem Alexander. Anthem Alexander's trainer Eddie Lynam has a fantastic record with sprinters - he has done especially well with Sole Power and Slade Power in recent years - and he looks to have another speedball on his hands based on the two-year-old's wide-margin win at Tipperary. Anthem Alexander - who is a half-sister to the speedy Dandy Man - clocked a fast time at Tipperary, and she can mark herself down as one of the leading juveniles here. It is also worth keeping Tiggy Wiggy onside as Richard Hannon's filly was extremely impressive when beating the colts in the National Stakes at Sandown last month - a performance backed up by a good time - and she appeals as a solid proposition.  

15:45- On a day full of big fields and tricky puzzles to solve, we are offered some respite in the Prince of Wales's Stakes courtesy of Treve - the best horse in the world according to Timeform. Treve went unbeaten through her three-year-old campaign, registering impressive successes in the Prix de Diane, Prix Vermeille and, most notably of all, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. She was beaten by a race-fit Cirrus des Aigles under his ideal conditions in the Prix Ganay, but subsequent events have shown that was a highly creditable effort and Treve can bounce back to winning ways here.  

16:25- Integral created a favourable impression during her first season last term, finishing the campaign with an excellent second to Sky Lantern in the Sun Chariot Stakes, and like her dam Echelon - who won a Group 1 as a 5-y-o - she can continue to improve with experience. Integral made an encouraging return in the Dahlia Stakes, conceding first run (and race fitness) to Esoterique, and she is expected to improve enormously on that performance. With the card finishing with two extremely tricky handicaps, we will take a calculated risk by banking on Integral.  

17:00- Handicaps usually don't come any more difficult than the Royal Hunt Cup, but this year could be a bit different if Abseil is as good as he has looked in his short career: he could be a Group horse in a handicap. Abseil wasn't seen to best effect having been drawn badly at Chester, and he didn't seem to handle Epsom particularly well, hanging down the camber, but he still got the job done on Oaks Day and remains open to improvement. This is clearly competitive stuff, however, so we will also turn to Burano and Gabrial's Kaka for a bit of insurance. Burano hasn't had much luck on both starts in Britain this season, but he has shaped like a revitalised and well-handicapped horse, finishing with plenty of running left having been hampered, and, though hardly a prolific winner (one win from 26 starts), the potential rewards outweigh the risks at present. Gabrial's Kaka made little impression upped to Group 3 company at Chester, but he was possibly unsuited by testing conditions (was never travelling well) and could benefit from the return to a strongly-run mile on a sound surface, the same conditions which saw him produce excellent efforts at Newbury and Haydock. 

17:35- This is about as tricky a finish to a Placepot as you could imagine: 25 unexposed fillies charging down the Ascot straight mile. We will go in mob-handed to increase our chances, starting with Sir Michael Stoute's Psychometry who has been travelling well over further recently, and could be well suited by facing a strongly-run mile on fast ground. Hot Coffee shaped better than the bare result at Haydock last time, beaten by three more patiently-ridden and unexposed rivals, but the return to a fast surface should be in her favour (won on good-to-firm on debut) and she can give a good account. Lady Lara is open to less progress than most, but she is a largely reliable type who enters this race in good form having been narrowly edged out at York last time, and it is worth remembering how well she fared in the face of a stiff task in the Albany Stakes here on debut last year.

Timeform Selections:
14:30- 5, 15
15:05- 4, 22
15:45- 8
16:25- 8
17:00- 9, 20, 29
17:35- 4, 19, 22
= 36 lines

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