Coral Welsh National winning trainer Richard Lee seems to be at a cross roads with his charge and winning horse, Mountainous. He's pencilled in for all three remaining Nationals of the season, Aintree, Ireland and Scotland and to date no decision has been made as to which he will ultimately run in.
As training problems go, it's hardly an upsetting one but it looks like Fairyhouse in Ireland may get the nod over the 2014 Grand National at Aintree, for which Mountainous is currently a general 33/1 chance with most UK bookmakers.
Having run a sterling race to take the Welsh National by a head back in December, Mountainous then took a short break before running for fifth place in the West Wales National Handicap Chase on Feb 01.
He is now set to return on February 15th for the Grand National Trial at Haydock, which, even according to trainer Lee, will come all too soon.
Speaking to RacingUK Lee said: “He's entered in the Grand National Trial at Haydock (February, 15), but that will certainly come too soon. He's in the English National, he could go for the Scottish National if the ground was soft enough and the other race that is under consideration is the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.
“I think Fairyhouse is pencilled in in fairly big letters and I think out of the three, that would probably be the favourite at this stage, provided conditions are suitable. He needs cut in the ground and if the ground isn't soft enough, he won't run anywhere. He's done his job for the season already and doesn't owe anybody anything.”
So, like many of his Grand National potential competitors, soft ground is the order of the day when it comes to Aintree and although course watering is expected to soften up the going, if it doesn't rain then Mountainous won't run.
In fact, despite the likelihood of him getting a decent weight for Aintree, possibly around the 10-06 mark, he really is a horse that needs heavy ground, on which he has started six times producing four wins and a place.
He should do well at Haydock based on the fact that it doesn't seemed to have stopped raining this year so with the ground a bit boggier than normal it could be ideal for him.
Chances are though that he may bypass Aintree and the 2014 Grand National and instead take his chances in Ireland.