Horse Racing: O’Neill ponders Welsh National options

Merry King Horse Racing

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Jonjo O’Neill is still pondering whether to pitch Alfie Sherrin into the Welsh National on December 28 having already confirmed Merry King for the Chepstow showpiece.

The Jackdaws Castle trainer had always lined up Merry King to feature following his staying-on fifth in the Hennessy at Newbury in November.

That followed on from a second-placed finish in the United House Gold Cup at Ascot behind Houblon Des Obeaux and it is no surprise to see him prominent in the ante-post lists for the Welsh National.

However a decision on the JP McManus-owned Alfie Sherrin, who recorded a fourth-placed finish in both the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival in March and on his seasonal bow at Haydock last month, will be kept on hold for the time being as O’Neill is wary of the ground being too soft.

He said: “Merry King will run in the Welsh National, but I’m not sure about Alfie Sherrin as he doesn’t want it too soft.”

Therefore it is clear that O’Neill will be pinning his hopes on Merry King to secure his first Welsh National win since Synchronised’s success in 2010.

Jackdaws Castle stable-mate Storm Survivor could also feature in the race, but a decision will also be made nearer the time after his disappointing sixth-placed finish behind Houblon Des Obeaux at Ascot on Saturday.

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