O’Brien waiting on Alvarado run

Fergal O'Brien is waiting on the weather in all respects ahead of a possible start for Alvarado at Cheltenham next Friday.

Eventual winner Alvarado makes his way through the field in the Murphy Group Hanicap Chase at the 2013 Open Meeting.

Following a dry spell, the going on the Cross Country Course is currently 'Hard, Firm in places' and a decision whether to stage the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase on Friday's card will be made next week.

Should the race be abandoned, the £25,000 Glenfarclas Veterans' Handicap Chase will take its place. The going on the Old Course is currently Good (watered). The forecast is for some showers this weekend and then an unsettled week with up to 12mm of rain of rain before racing.

Entries for both races closed on Saturday and the extended two and a half-mile Glenfarclas Veteran's Handicap Chase, for horses aged 10 and older, has attracted 13 contenders including last season's Scottish Grand National runner-up Alvarado, trained locally near Naunton by Fergal O'Brien.

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The 11-year-old scored on his last appearance at The Open, winning the Grade Three BetVictor Handicap Chase in November 2013, and has also twice finished fourth in the Grand National.

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O'Brien reported on Saturday: "As long as the forecast amount of rain arrives, then Alvarado could run in the Glenfarclas Veterans' Handicap Chase at Cheltenham next week.

"I have been delighted with him. He has come back in a bit earlier this year after a good summer out and looks to be in a great place at the moment.

"The plan is to give him a few runs this season because he wouldn't get into the Grand National off his current mark."

Other possible runners include Shuil Royale (Harry Fry) and Your Busy (James Nash IRE), first and second in a veterans' handicap at Aintree on October 23, while Eastlake (Jonjo O'Neill) captured the Topham Chase at the same venue in April.

Listen to Mike Vince talk to Fergal O'Brien – audio interview provided courtesy of Racing UK.

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