O'Neill ponders Chepstow plan

Trainer Jonjo O'Neill is still contemplating having more than one runner in the Coral Welsh National on December 28.

The Jackdaws Castle handler has given Merry King the go-ahead for the Chepstow showpiece, but is wary about the ground turning too soft for stablemate Alfie Sherrin.

Merry King is prominent in the ante-post lists for the Welsh National following his staying-on fifth in the Hennessy at Newbury in November.

Before that he had finished second in the United House Gold Cup at Ascot behind Houblon Des Obeaux, who again won in determined style at the weekend.

The JP McManus-owned Alfie Sherrin finished fourth in the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival in March and occupied the same position on his seasonal bow at Haydock last month.

O'Neill, who won the race in 2010 with Synchronised, 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."

Fellow Jackdaws Castle resident Storm Survivor also holds an entry in the Welsh National, but he finished sixth to Houblon Des Obeaux at Ascot on Saturday.