Past Winners » Eton Rifles


Eton Rifles has a decent chance of winning this, a better chance than odds of 10/1 suggest.

A high class handicapper last season, who was at his best over seven furlongs, the Pivotal gelding ran a cracker on his debut this season in the Lincoln. He was racing on ground that was probably too fast for him, over a distance that was probably too far, and he was racing on what was probably the slowest part of the track, yet he still did enough to finish fifth, second of his group.

He has run just once since, in a Group 3 race at Newcastle in June over six furlongs, a distance that is not far enough, yet he again did well to finish fourth behind Genki, Doncaster Rover and Regal Parade, with Wokingham runner-up Waffle behind him in fifth. That is strong form to carry into this race, a handicap, and a hike of 3lb is more than fair.

He has had a couple of intended engagements since, but the troubles that his former trainer Howard Johnson was encountering probably didn’t help in the planning of his season. He has now joined David Elsworth, and this looks like the ideal race for him. Seven furlongs on easy ground is probably optimum, which he has today, and he is drawn in stall five, which is perfect. Low numbers have a significant advantage over seven furlongs or a mile at Goodwood when they don’t come over to the stands side. They come stands side on soft ground, but it is probable that, as long as they don’t have any more rain, it will not be soft enough today to entice the jockeys over.

The one big worry about Eton Rifles is the form of the Elsworth yard. However, everything else is in place, Kieren Fallon has been booked – apparently he rang up looking for the ride, which is significant given that there were several in the race that he could have ridden – and there is a chance that, because Eton Rifles has just joined the stable, he may not have been afflicted yet by whatever is ailing the yard, if something is, if that makes sense.