Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Eton Rifles Can Be Lucky with Seven

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Eton Rifles Can Be Lucky with Seven

Article excerpt

THE last three winners of the Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle have one thing in common. Knot In Wood, Barney McGrew and Genki were all seven-yearolds.

And the sequence could well be extended by that age group in today's Group Three event, sponsored by Betfred, if, as I expect, Eton Rifles emerges as the winner despite taking on a couple of higher-rated rivals in Mayson and Our Jonathan.

Highly regarded when trained by Howard Johnson, he ran as well as he was entitled to on official ratings when fourth to Genki last year, but is much better treated with the second and third, Doncaster Rover and Regal Parade, on latest figures.

Doncaster Rover is a pound lower now while Regal Parade is not the force he was and has slipped down the ratings from 118 to 107. On the other hand, Eton Rifles has made giant strides since and is 15lb higher at 109.

Mayson is a pound above him but has a penalty to carry for his early season success in Group company and that might just tilt the scales in favour of Eton Rifles. Our Jonathan is rated 3lb better than my selection although there is precious little between them on recent Salisbury form.

Lumbered with a 4lb penalty, Eton Rifles finished fourth in a blanket finish in which Libranno came out on top by a neck from Our Jonathan with Eton Rifles a head and a neck back in fourth.

But that tells only half the story. He got involved in a barging match with Old Jonathan as he switched off the rail to make his run and he came off worse.

Eton Rifles meets Our Jonathan on level terms and, strictly on that form, should have his measure this time.

The ground was just on the easy side of good and he prefers it much softer.

While no horse relishes heavy ground, some go through it better than others, and in the case of Eton Rifles he simply loves a mudbath.

Since Johnson had his licence withdrawn, Eton Rifles had a relatively brief but successful spell with David Elsworth before being sold and joining Stuart Williams. …

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