MELISSA JONES: Mountainous bid for tricky Grand National double is still in the balance

First published in Sport
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TRAINER Richard Lee is yet to convince the owners of Welsh Grand National victor Mountainous to let him bid for glory at Aintree.

The nine-year-old, who battled bravely to land Chepstow’s biggest race two weeks ago, would be attempting the tricky Grand National double in April, completed by the likes of Bindaree and Silver Birch.

With the gelding fresh and well following his exertions over the Christmas period, Lee is planning to take the horsebox up to Haydock Park for its Grand National trial on February 15.

Mountainous would then be on the road to Aintree if he persuades Dai Walters and the Potters.

“I do think it might be the race for him, but he would need soft ground,” said Lee.

“No decision has been made yet and I will have to discuss with them nearer the time.”

In the build-up to the Chepstow race, Lee and family were doing a rain dance as they initially feared the ground would not be testing enough for Mountainous and stablemate Knock A Hand.

Plenty of the wet stuff has fallen since their prayers and Lee, unaffected by the weather at his yard near Presteigne, is hoping for such a spell to return in the spring.

Mountainous, meanwhile, has been enjoying his post-Chepstow recuperation out in the field most days.

“He bounced back amazingly well,” said Lee, who is driving his horses to Wetherby this afternoon and hoping he will return with prize money.

“He returned from Chepstow, ate up and it seemed he thoroughly enjoyed himself, I should say. He’s in light training and we are keeping him ticking over.

“The weather has not affected him or us.

“If we were flooded up here, then the world would be under water!”

Mountainous will have to cope with a 13lb higher mark from the handicapper and should he make Aintree, it will be touch and go whether he will meet last year’s runner-up Cappa Bleu.

Evan Williams’ charge has returned to the home of his owners after picking up a knock and the chances are slim that he will be ready to make the line-up.

A decision will be made in the next seven to ten days.

Melissa’s selections: Warwick: 2.25 Oscar Fortune, 3.00 Deputy Dan, 3.35 Noble Legend (NAP). KEMPTON: 1.35 Josses Hill (NB), 2.40 Kaylif Aramis

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