Charlton's charge can eclipse rivals
IT is often said that the rainy days a man saves for usually seem to arrive during his holidays -- and by the time you read this article, I should be on a beach in Clare with the family hoping to dodge a few downpours myself.
It's been a few years since we holidayed in Ireland, but the wife was feeling a bit patriotic this year and decided we should do our bit for the struggling economy.
I tried to tell her that the west of Ireland is one of the wettest places in Europe, but she was having none of it so, alongside the sun cream and Bermuda shorts, we did the typical Irish thing and threw the rain macs and umbrellas into the suitcase.
Interestingly, the county's namesake, St Clare of Assisi, is the patron saint of good weather, so a few prayers in her direction might not go astray.
Although now that I think of it, she also encouraged people to lead a life of poverty, so perhaps I'll save my prayers for a day when I'm not trying to earn a few bob on the horses.
It's hard to find a more beautiful part of Ireland than Clare and, rain, hail or shine, I'm sure we'll have a great time -- even though it does mean I'll miss today's Coral Eclipse at Sandown (3.45).
It's a real shame that So You Think pulled some muscles in his hind quarters this week, as the Eclipse would have been his last hurrah in the northern hemisphere before he heads back to Australia for the breeding season. Last year's winner has now been retired.
It's taken some of the gloss off the race, but the inclusion of Dubai World Cup winner Monterosso, King George winner Nathaniel and the exciting Pivotal colt Farhh will ensure that the 2012 renewal remains a competitive affair.
Plenty of money has come for the last-named horse since So You Think's withdrawal, and there's a good chance that the Godolphin-trained four-year-old will go off as favourite.
But don't rule out Roger Charlton's globetrotting Cityscape (priced around 6/1), winner of the Meydan Dubai Duty Free in March.
Some punters have gone cold on the six-year-old following a disappointing display in Hong Kong last time, but he was one of a couple of horses that missed the break that day and found trouble when meeting a wall of horses a furlong and a half out. Otherwise, his form is rock solid.
Earlier on the same card, Starscope is the one to beat in the Listed Coral Distaff fillies' race (3.10). She was second in the 1,000 Guineas and the Coronation Stakes, so this drop in class should prove relatively easy.
If she goes off anywhere near her forecast price of 7/4, I'll be the first in the queue with a fistful of euro.
Lexi's Boy has turned into a useful dual-purpose sort and has strong claims in today's Old Newton Cup at Haydock (3.25).
But at 9/2, he's a bit short and preference is for the Charlton-trained Cry Fury, generally available at 7/1. He met trouble at Epsom last time and should've finished better than eighth, but he's been doing well for himself in handicaps lately and has a good turn of foot.
If Jamie Spencer can get the four-year-old out in front early, he's unlikely to go home empty-handed.
3.10 Sandown: Starscope
3.25 Haydock: Cry Fury (e/w)
3.45 Sandown: Cityscape
4.10 Beverley: It's A Privilege