Dubai In-form Godolphin handler Saeed Bin Surour unearthed another Derby contender in Basem on Thursday, but his big hope, Be Ready, failed to display the Classic credentials that his trainer hoped he would.
A full brother to last season’s Qipco Champion Stakes (G1) sensation Farhh, Basem franked the family bloodlines of his sire Pivotal, to post an impressive victory in the Wood Ditton Stakes.
Godolphin’s Farhh was retired to stud at the end of last season, but the young Pivotal colt has announced himself as a potential Classic contender with his striking performance.
Sent off as a 5-2 favourite under Silvester De Sousa, Basem rallied well in the closing stages of the race to post a comfortable half-length victory over Roger Varian’s Made With Love, while Moonvoy, representing former Godolphin assistant trainer Jeremy Noseda, battled on for third, three quarters of a length further back.
“I always liked him and there was nothing wrong with him last year, he was just a bit weak,” Bin Surour said of Basem. “I’m sure he’ll improve for this race. A mile and a quarter is a good distance for him and we’ll find a conditions race. After his second race, we’ll know more,” said trainer Saeed Bin Suroor.
However, Be Read, who is held in high regard by his Dubai World Cup-winning trainer, did not look like a happy horse as he trailed in last of six runners in the Group 3 Craven Stakes.
All eyes were on Be Ready and favourite Toormore in the 1600m contest, which is a popular trial for the Epsom Classic, but halfway through the race, it was clear that the Godolphin hope was not at his best and was also struggling to settle under De Sousa.
At one point it appeared that the rider was casting furtive glances at his charges legs as if he sensed something was wrong.
Meanwhile, Toormore raced at the head of the field under a confident Ryan Moore and improved his unbeaten record to four wins with a comfortable two-length victory over The Grey Gatsy, ridden by Jamie Spencer for Kevin Ryan, while Luca Cumani’s Postponed took third.
Earlier in the afternoon, it was the turn of Bin Surour’s Godolphin college Charlie Appleby to bask in the Newmarket spotlight, after Sudden Wonder ran out a hard-working winner of the £200,000 Tattersalls Millions 3-Y-O Trophy.
A son for former Derby sensation New Approach, the winner showed plenty of courage when waging a winning battle against the Roger Charlton-trained Observational. Having travelled well under Godolphin-retained French rider Mickael Barzalona, he picked up a gear when asked for his effort a furlong and a half from home and stayed on well to eke out a close win.
Appleby said: “I thought he came into this season with a nice two-year-old profile and I ran him in this race rather than a Listed race because I wanted him to experience a bit of hustle and bustle and learn a bit more.
“He’s a big, raw horse. There are really no goals, he is entered in the Dante, that might be aiming a bit high but we’ll take a look at some of the trials and see how he comes out of the race.”