The Betfred Mile (3.10) at Goodwood on Friday is as competitive as it gets, but we’re nailing our colours firmly to the mast with Saeed bin Suroor’s progressive 4-year-old Basem. The Pivotal colt is 2-2 over a mile at Sandown this season and could still be open to significant improvement after just six career starts. He’s quite closely handicapped with Munaaser and Jacob Black on their running at Sandown last month, but he probably has more scope for improvement than either of those rivals and can confirm the form, despite another 5lb rise in the weights.
Basem has won on good to soft, good and good to firm going, so should run his race whatever the weather in West Sussex and makes no little appeal at 7/1, in places, in the ante post lists. He tends not to win by very far, so could be the type to give the handicapper sleepless nights and definitely looks one to follow until beaten.
Selection: Goodwood 3.10 Basem (7/1 with Totesport and Betfred) to win
The fact that Mark Johnston’s stable jockey Joe Fanning heads to Carlisle on Thursday for just one ride for the Middleham Moor trainer suggests that Highly Sprung is likely to be thereabouts in the Bookies.com Median Auction Stakes (2.30) and the hint is worth taking. The Zebedee colt ran his best race so far when failing by 1¼ lengths to withhold the challenge of Fast And Furious in a Class 5 maiden, over 6 furlongs, at Hamilton nine days ago. Fast And Furious had previously finished second in a Class 3 maiden at York, the form of which has been franked by the third, fourth and fifth, so it starts to become clearer why Joe Fanning is so keen on riding Highly Sprung.
Highly Sprung is the most experienced runner in the field and should be suited by what is a stiff test of stamina for a 2-year-old but, before you go in with your head down, it’s worth remembering that he does face a whole host of largely unknown quantities. Michael Dods’ Majestic Missile colt Market Choice, for example, was only beaten a head in a similar race over course and distance last month, despite obvious signs of greenness, so at least a cursory glance at the market is recommended.
Selection: Carlisle 2.30 Highly Sprung to win