|Wednesday 6th June||4.25 Cartmel||3m2f|
Horace D. Pain Memorial
Alvarado, who has been entered in several Hunter Chases since his last outing in April at Southwell, is likely to be sent off a warm favourite for the final Hunter Chase of the 2012 season.
He was handed a mark of 141 after completing a hat-trick of Novice Chases for Howard Johnson last season but that has since dropped to 129. There is every chance that figure is still on the generous side given that the horses who got closest to him over fences have achieved little since. The son of Goldmark has a tendency to jump right and throw in the odd error – worrying traits ahead of another outing at a tight left-handed track.
Evan Williams’ horses are running well at the moment but he is still an unknown quantity after his two appearances for the trainer (refused at Newbury then surrendered tamely in what was effectively a match at Southwell) and he runs over further than ever before. James Tudor looks to resume winning ways after hitting the crossbar three times at Kingston Blount on Sunday.
Call Me Mulligan receives 4lbs from Alvarado and looks the chief threat. He barely had a workout at Mordon last time when winning a weak match (sent off 1/10 favourite) but denied Monogram a hat-trick at the same venue in April with the useful Oedipe back in third. Rider John Dawson is enjoying a purple patch having won the Fraser Cup here on Monday and riding a four-timer at Mordon 10 days ago.
With a record of 2 from 6 over fences, the eight-year-old took a Novice Hunter Chase at Catterick (Good) last year over 3m1½f. Owner/trainer John Wade saddled a winner here on Saturday night and if his General Hardi goes close in the Grand Veteran’s Handicap Chase (3.50), the gelding is sure to receive market support.
Oranger has run creditably in his three Hunter Chase appearances this season without threatening to win one. He was only beaten 11 lengths at Stratford on Friday night over 2m1½f (may have been closer had he not walked through the final fence) and chased home useful performers at Sedgefield and Cheltenham previously. Although the ten-year-old would receive 43lbs from Alvarado if this was a Handicap, the Martins have a habit of pulling a rabbit out of the hat when it is least expected and it would be no surprise to see him run a big race in his favoured conditions.
Belon Gale, who has developed a lazy style of running since joining owner/trainer/rider Simon Robinson, was well held by Oranger at Sedgefield in April.
Rider Jacqueline Coward, who is enjoying a wonderful season, won this race last year on Amicelli but Think Lucky fails to appeal given what he has recently achieved in Points.
11-year-old Kisha King is yet to win for his new connections and gives owner/rider Anne Taylor her first ride under rules.
Topinambour has not won since 2006 (recent ‘win’ was a walk over) and finished completely tailed off in a four runner event at Bangor last month.
It appears as though only Alvarado stands in the way of rider John Dawson completing Cartmel’s Hunter Chase double. It may be wise to treat Evan Williams’ charge with caution should he go off odds-on as he has plenty of negatives and Call Me Mulligan represents a formidable opponent enjoying an upward curve.