WELSH owner Dai Walters has revealed his ambition to win this year’s £100,000 Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow with the Richard Lee-trained Mountainous.
The eight-year-old gelding is progressing nicely ahead of the three-mile five-furlong grade three handicap chase on Saturday, December 28.
Walters said: “To win a race of this stature on home turf would be a childhood dream come true for all connections.”
Lee, who trained Le Beau Bai to win in 2011, explained: “We have five horses entered in the Coral Welsh Grand National with Mountainous and Knock A Hand more likely to make the cut.
“Mountainous has had two runs this season, placed in both on ground that would have been a fraction quick for the big horse.
“He’s progressed nicely and the Welsh Grand National is firmly in our minds.
“Jamie Moore and Noel Fehily both agree that Mountainous is a special horse – one that they don’t mind getting up early to ride.”
Lee added: “It’s still too early to comment on possible weights as we’ll all know where we stand when a decision on top weight Tidal Bay’s participation has been made. Nevertheless, I’m a positive thinker and we’re in it to win it.”
Of the original 88 entries for the race, 71 horses stood their ground at the first forfeit stage on Tuesday.
The confirmation stage takes place on Monday, December 23, with declared runners announced on Friday, December 27.
Current market leaders include joint favourites at 10/1 are Sydney Paget, trained by Donald McCain with a 10st 8lb weight and the Gary Moore-trained Well Refreshed, reduced from 16/1 following a competitive third placing and classy prep run last weekend. Highland Lodge and the Irish-trained Goonyella are the 12/1 joint second-favourites.
Gates open at 10am for Chepstow’s biggest race meeting of the season with a £190,000 total prize-pool. The seven race card comes under starter’s orders at 12:05pm with the last race at 3:35pm.
Chepstow Racecourse has reported a surge in advance bookings following fresh changes to the 2013 pricing structure and additional investment in on-course entertainment.
Tickets can be purchased on the day from £20 or visit www.chepstow-racecourse.co.uk for more information.