Mountainous could be the first horse to win three Welsh Nationals
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Mark Scully 11:22AM 16 NOV 2016
MOUNTAINOUS is on course to bid to win a historic third Coral Welsh National and on Wednesday featured among 102 entries for the Chepstow contest.
The 11-year-old, trained locally by Kerry Lee, was victorious in 2013 and 2015 and would be the first horse to win the famous race three times if he can get his head in front again on December 27.
“I rode him out myself this morning and he’s in fine form,” said Lee. “I’m slightly frustrated not to have been able to get a run into him yet, the ground has stopped that, but he’ll run on December 3 at either Chepstow or Sandown then head straight to Chepstow.
“I’m bidding to equal my father’s record of having won the race twice too, so I’m very much looking forward to it!”
Mountainous is one of seven entries in the race for Lee, with Bishops Road and Good To Know chief among them.
As well as last year’s winner, each of the second, third and fourth – namely Firebird Flyer, Shotgun Paddy and Saroque – are in the frame to return this year.
So too is the 2014 hero Emperor’s Choice, as well as former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere and Grand National runner-up The Last Samuri.
Executive director of Chepstow Racecourse, Phil Bell said: “This is an exceptionally high quality set of entries. The increase in prize money from £120,000 to £150,000 has clearly attracted some of the leading staying chasers in the country.
“It will be fantastic to see Mountainous try and make history but it will be tough if some of the big names stand their ground.”
Sponsors Coral make Minella Rocco their 14-1 co-favourite along with Native River and Viconte Du Noyer, with a host of hopefuls, including Mountainous and Emperor’s Choice, available at 16-1.
Coral are also offering a £100,000 bonus for any horse able to win the Welsh National and go on to claim the Coral Scottish National next April.
Other entries revealed
Away from Chepstow, Highland Lodge could bid to win back-to-back renewals of the Betfred Becher Chase at Aintree on December 3.
The ten-year-old was on Wednesday among 59 entries for the 3m2f handicap which is run over the National fences. The likes of Clarcam, Empire of Dirt and Triolo d’Alene also feature.
On the same card, a total of 36 entries have been received for the Betfred Grand Sefton Chase, including last year’s winner Bennys Mist, as well as As De Mee, Le Mercurey and Third Intention.