Royal Ascot Placepot: Friday June 21

Homecoming Queen is out to recapture her Newmarket form

So with the longest day of the year behind us and the countdown to Christmas beginning in earnest (only 180 or so shopping days left etc.) now seems an opportune time to land a juicy Placepot. The Timeform team have hopefully devised a winning permutation for the fourth day of the Royal meeting.

David Marnane's raids across the Irish Sea are always worth noting, especially in handicaps where nearly a quarter of his runners over the past five years have been successful.

14:30 - The Albany Stakes opens proceedings and it was difficult not to be impressed with the debut performance of Agent Allison at Pontefract earlier this month, when the market vibes proved correct as the Chapple-Hyam filly quickened away for a clear-cut victory. Another to catch the eye on her first start was Newfangled, successful on soft ground at Newmarket's July course a fortnight ago. Newfangled is both top rated with Timeform and sports a 'large P', which combined make up about as strong a pointer as you should need. Her young sire New Approach has already tasted success at the Royal meeting with Coventry Stakes winner Dawn Approach, so plenty looks to be in Newfangled's favour today.

15:05 - The 'Ascot Derby' as it is known sees a field of seven tackle twelve furlongs, though the recent record of horses coming here from Epsom would indicate Astrology and Thought Worthy are worth opposing. Third and fourth that day, both looked to have hard races and the second-named may not even be his yard's first-string as Shantaram, a winner at this trip on soft ground, has John Gosden's stable jockey William Buick on board. An alternative is Noble Mission, who's on the up and looks more of a staying type than big brother Frankel.

15:45 - The Coronation Stakes sees a rematch between the 1000 Guineas winners of England and Ireland. Homecoming Queen and Samitar. The latter won on this card last year and is very much respected, but such was the impression Aiden O'Brien's filly made when spreadeagling her field to take the Newmarket classic on soft ground that she's taken as our selection.

16:25 - A high-quality renewal of the Wolferton Handicap, the lowest BHA-rated horse in the 16-strong field has a mark of 97. Mijhaar seemed booked for second place behind subsequent King George winner Nathaniel when turning into the home straight of last years King Edward VII Stakes before his stamina gave out, but this trip looks ideal for Roger Varian's son of Shirocco, with a pipeopener at York last month likely to have put him spot on. While respecting last year's victor Beachfire, his yard have a livelier candidate this time around in Gatewood, who came from an impossible-looking position to take an Epsom handicap last time, though his supporters will be anxious for William Buick not to find as much trouble in running as on that occasion.

17:00 - The Queens Vase has been a regular source of winners for Mark Johnson over recent years, the Middleham trainer successful six times already this century, but he is not represented this time around and a chance is taken on Thirsk maiden winner Yazdi being able to step up in an open looking heat. He gave every indication on that day of having a future as a useful stayer, and as a Galileo colt out of a Pivotal mare already successful on soft ground, there are plenty of ticks in his box.

17:35 - If we are still alive at this stage, we have just the 29-runner Buckingham Palace Stakes to navigate. We've mentioned William Buick a couple of times already and he renews acquaintance with Noble Citizen, who looks primed to go well again at the track where he has run many of his best races. A fine effort at Goodwood last month gave every indication he will arrive here in top condition. Noble Citizen is drawn low, but it may be advisable to select a horse drawn on the stands side too, and Jamesie fits the bill. David Marnane's raids across the Irish Sea are always worth noting, especially in handicaps where nearly a quarter of his runners over the past five years have been successful. Jamesie came good at around this time of year in Ireland in 2011 and will have the assistance of Johnny Murtagh in the saddle on the back of a promising effort at Naas recently.


Selections:
14:30 - 1,11
15:05 - 4,5
15:45 - 5
16:25 - 5,14
17:00 - 11
17:35 - 23,24
= 16 lines


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