Racing: Celeric should have last word over Cliche

Greg Wood has faith in a new recruit to Cup competition
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The Independent Online
For the benefit of punters who are getting a little weary of Classic trials, the feature race at York this afternoon offers an interesting variation on the theme. Classic Cliche, the best stayer in Europe last season, will be put to the test for the first time this year in the Yorkshire Cup, a race he won 12 months ago, and we should swiftly discover whether one of the most admirable horses in training will remain a champion much longer.

It is not so long since the identity of the leading stayer was decided almost by default, but in recent years, horses like Double Trigger and Classic Cliche have demonstrated that stamina can be every bit as exciting as speed. Better still, a new generation is emerging to challenge them, and its most promising member, Celeric, should prove to be Classic Cliche's most serious rival this afternoon, just as he may be throughout the long summer cycle of Cup races.

Indeed, if David Morley's runner does not beat the champion this afternoon, he surely never will. Celeric has the benefit of a previous run, when an excellent fourth over an inadequate 12 furlongs in the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket and gets 5lb from Classic Cliche. Mons, also a stayer of considerable promise, is another to watch, but CELERIC (nap 3.10) will surely prevail this afternoon.

It will also be a result to please the traditionalists if Shaya can win the Glasgow Stakes, and do so well enough to give Dick Hern a realistic chance of winning his fourth Derby. To date, Shaya has run just once, finishing second in what was, even by Doncaster's standards, an ordinary maiden, but Hern holds him in high regard and that knowledge alone has forced his odds for the Derby down to just 16-1.

His odds today will be equally unrealistic, and while he may be a potential champion, Shaya is certainly worth opposing. Greek Palace (3.40), the only member of the field without a Derby entry, has the best chance to beat him, while Blue Duster (2.35) also deserves support.