Dr Massini the one to follow on Glasgow route to Derby

Click to follow
The Independent Online
The forces of fashion may be at their strongest on the spectators' side of the running rail, but sometimes they can extend to the track as well. A few years ago, the first race on the last day of the Dante meeting was just another three-year-old conditions event, irrelevant to the overall scheme, but the Michael Seely Memorial Glasgow Stakes is rapidly turning into one of the most significant of Derby trials.

Seely, who was the racing correspondent of the Times, is remembered with great affection by countless racegoers who could point out that the Glasgow's rise to prominence co-incides almost exactly with its renaming in his memory.

A less romantic explanation is that it is another symptom of changing attitudes among trainers. Many now give their most promising animals light juvenile campaigns and plenty of time to mature. The Glasgow's conditions - it is for colts which have not won a Pattern race or run more than three times - suit them ideally.

Whatever the reason, Commander In Chief won on the way to his Derby success three years ago, while Tamure, victorious 12 months ago, ran second to Lammtarra at Epsom. Three of today's runners, Astor Place, Dr Massini and King Alex, are quoted at 33-1 or less for the Classic, and even with last year's St Leger winner and a potential champion sprinter elsewhere on the card, this is the result which many punters will look for first.

Astor Place, who is more exposed that his main rivals, was outclassed in the Grand Criterium last autumn, so it is reasonable to assume that at least one of today's opponents will prove too good for him. King Alex and Dr Massini (2.00) showed enormous potential when winning maidens at Leicester and Kempton respectively, but Dr Massini's performance was franked by the stopwatch and he is the one to back. A little of the 33- 1 for Epsom could prove a shrewd investment too.

Two horses who have what it takes to win Classics are Strategic Choice and Classic Cliche, who form the nucleus of a small but talented field for the Yorkshire Cup. According to the handicappers, Strategic Choice was last season's best stayer, but this was not one of their shrewder assessments and Godolphin, successful last year with Moonax, can follow up with Classic Cliche (3.40).

There are echoes of the 1995 meeting in the Duke of York Stakes, too. Passion For Life (next best 4.10), Geoff Lewis's hugely promising young sprinter, is following the path mapped out by the same trainer's Lake Coniston as he gathers valuable experience. Today's assignment is his hardest yet, but he remains a horse to follow until beaten.

Lewis has every chance with Caricature (next 3.05) in the seven-furlong handicap, but the bet of the day is a horse which the commentator needs to treat with care. When Jason Weaver arrives with a double-handful at the furlong pole, the caller must try not to yell " . . and just look at MYBOTYE" (nap 2.35).