Horses To Follow » Merry King

Merry King

The five-year-old Merry King ran a cracker in the Tommy Whittle Chase at Haydock last Saturday to go down by just a nostril to Cannington Brook, who is now three from four at Haydock, his only defeat at the track coming in this season’s Betfair Chase.

Jonjo O’Neill’s gelding proved that he stays three miles well here, he fought back really strongly from the last fence to force a desperately close photo from which the judge took a few minutes to decide the outcome. Merry King probably wouldn’t have wanted the ground to have been quite this testing for this step up in trip, but he does handle this ground well and he showed a really likeable attitude here. He remains progressive, this was just his fourth run over fences and, while he didn’t seem to lack for experience against seasoned handicappers here, he should progress again for this.

The form of his previous run to finish second in a two-and-three-quarter-mile novices’ handicap chase at Newbury on Hennessy day, which looked strong at the time, looks even better now, with the other three horses who filled the first four places with him all winning on their only runs since. Merry King has been raised 5lb for this run, but that is far from harsh, the front two pulled well clear of Mac Aeda and Quincy Des Pictons, and Cannington Brook was racing from a mark 8lb lower than his peak in his optimum conditions.

Merry King has plenty of options now, he is progressive, he stays and he jumps well, and he has plenty of pace. He will be of interest wherever he runs next.

22nd December 2012