With the countdown on to the start of the 2012 Flat season on turf, Roger Varian’s decent Eton Forever remains a marginal favourite for the first big handicap event of the term, the William Hill
Lincoln Handicap run at Doncaster on March 31, writes Elliot Slater.
It was at this very fixture 12 months ago that Varian sent out Eton Forever to be his first winner with a new training licence having been handed the reins to Kremlin House Stables by his mentor and friend Michael Jarvis who passed away after a long illness. Varian went on to prove himself a worthy successor to the hugely popular and much-missed Jarvis by enjoying a fine first season in the training ranks and hopes are high that the same horse can kick-start his 2012 campaign in one of the most fiercely contested mile handicaps of the season.
Eton Forever slammed the subsequently smart Dance And Dance by nearly four-lengths to win last year’s William Hill Spring Mile under Neil Callan then went on to run a series of good races, including finishing fifth of the 28-runner field to Julienas in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot in June, then ending his season back at Town Moor in September in running second to Man of Action in a decent handicap off a mark of 103. Set to run in the Lincoln off the same rating, connections of the five-year-old gelding are well aware that he seems to go particularly well when fresh.
Bookmakers and racing betting tips makers are taking no chances that he will making a winning start to the campaign for the second year in succession having priced him up with best racing odds of 8/1 ante-post favourite, marginally in front of the William Haggas-trained Fury, another who has commanded significant ante-post interest.