Author: Will Smith
Published: 08:36 08/02/2013
Having championed Pete The Feat and the merits of backing horses which feature in his direct and collateral form lines, I am now going to take him on. He runs in Kempton’s 4.00 tomorrow, and his presence will ensure a nice price about a horse for which conditions are absolutely perfect, and to my eye is well handicapped. That horse is Fergal O’Brien’s Alvarado.
Formerly with Howard Johnson and then Evan Williams, this likeable sort has had a mixed progression through the chasing ranks. From three small field novice chase wins, to some disappointing hunter chase runs for Williams – he has had the look of a very well treated horse in two starts for Fergal O’Brien this season.
The first was in the 2m4½f Bobby Renton Handicap Chase at Wetherby, which he won comfortably. Given a patient ride by Paul Moloney, the burst of acceleration Alvarado produced after the last was both eye-catching and marked him down as capable of much further progress. Given that he can jump to the right on occasions and has looked as if 3m is his optimum trip, that he could win so nicely over 2m4f at a left handed track like Wetherby shows how well handicapped he is.
For his next run he was handed a lenient 6lb rise and finished a close fifth (beaten just 4¼l) in the same 2m6½f handicap chase that Rigadin De Beauchene ran a close third in. That horse won the competitive Classic Chase for this column next time, and the form of that Newbury race is working out.
Alvarado steps up another 1½ furlongs tomorrow, and reverts to a right handed track. He has had a break of 71 days, which is a good thing, as his record fresh is exceptionally good. Plus O’Brien produced one of his chasers, Creevytennant, to win off the back of a much greater absence at Musselburgh on Sunday. So he can clearly get one ready off a break.
Alvarado is entered in the valuable Racing Plus Chase back at Kempton in two weeks time, and a win here would give him the necessary penalty to just about ensure a run in that. It looks like a carefully hatched plan by Nigel Twiston-Davies’ former assistant, and 11/1 with Betfred looks an exceptional price.
Recommendation: 4.00 Kempton – Alvarado (each-way) 11/1 (Betfred)