Royal Ascot Placepot tips: Paul Kealy can find only one banker on day one
It is a case of picking your battles when it comes to a Royal Ascot Placepot full of big-field races, but if there is a banker on the card it is surely Palace Pier in the opener (2.30).
He will, of course, take the vast majority of the pool through with him, but he has at least 8lb in hand on official ratings and it is hard to see him finishing out of the first three.
The next (3.05) obviously requires a bit of guesswork, but I would be far happier guessing that Aidan O'Brien would have a Coventry horse than Wesley Ward given he has won it nine times and Ward has yet to have a juvenile winner at 6f at the meeting.
Battaash doesn't finish out of the frame often, but he has had a setback and will be very popular in the King's Stand (3.40) so could be worth taking on.
Winter Power, so impressive in a good time at York on her return and getting 10lb, is the main pick, but Extravagant Kid is sure to be smuggled on to the scene late by Frankie Dettori, so goes in too.
Poetic Flare is a deserved favourite in the next (4.20) and can't be taken on lightly, but I'm not sure about the next three or four in the betting and would rather have Chindit, unbeaten away from Newmarket, as back-up.
It is perfectly plausible Willie Mullins has the answer to the Ascot Stakes (5.00), but favourite M C Muldoon is not a guaranteed stayer and Rayapour did all of his Flat racing in France on soft ground.
The final leg (5.35) is a Listed contest, but it is no less competitive than some of the handicaps.
Royal Ascot Placepot selections
6 Palace Pier
2 Berkshire Shadow
12 The Acropolis
16 Vintage Clarets
3 Extravagant Kid
16 Winter Power
11 Poetic Flare
9 Trumpet Man
18 Just Hubert
6 Blue Cup
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