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Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Mountainous retired with two Welsh Nationals to his name

Mountainous devours the mud to win his second Welsh National in January 2016
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Mountainous, who twice conquered one of racing's most demanding tests and became the first dual Welsh Grand National winner in over a quarter of a century, has been retired, with trainer Kerry Lee describing him as "the horse of a lifetime".

The mud-loving marathon runner first captured Chepstow's biggest prize for Richard Lee in 2013 before following up two seasons later for his daughter, providing the standout moment in her spectacular first season with a licence.

"The time to retire him is completely right," said Kerry Lee of the 12-year-old, who will continue to live a competitive life in a different equestrian discipline.

"He has nothing more to prove and deserves a well-earned career change. He is now going to be trained to become a show horse with his former work-rider Amy Lewis. He is a real supermodel and the most fantastic mover. He is also quite a show-off, so he should be perfect for showing."

Jamie Moore looked like a jockey who had definitely ridden in a race after winning the Welsh National on Mountainous
Mountainous also proved perfect for a deep ground slog around Chepstow's galloping track, where he won on three occasions, mirroring his record at Ffos Las.

Five of his six wins came on officially heavy ground, the recorded surface for both his Welsh National successes, which were gained for two different sets of owners.

"You could not find a more enthusiastic horse," added Lee. "He has loved being in training and he adores exercise. The younger horses in the yard have also been educated by him.

"He was the horse of a lifetime for us and we're going to miss him massively."

Welsh National win number one

Herefordshire's Richard Lee, based just on the English side of the Welsh border, had won the Welsh National with Le Beau Bai in 2011. He won it again in 2013, completing the middle leg of three Lee family wins in the famous handicap within the space of five seasons.

Mountainous (right) was partnered by Paul Moloney for his first Welsh Grand National victory
Paul Moloney was on the back of Mountainous, who emerged on top in a three-way scrap to the line with Hawkes Point and the quirky but brilliant Tidal Bay.

Lee, who described his yard as "nearly Welsh", said that afternoon: "I've had a stinking cold and spent most of Christmas Day in bed - but I feel better now."

Welsh National win number two

It had been 48 years since an 11-year-old won the race. Mountainous changed that, and also became the first horse since Bonanza Boy 26 years earlier to secure a second victory in Chepstow's annual highlight.

This time sporting new yellow silks having changed ownership, he grabbed the lead halfway up the sodden home straight under Jamie Moore before powering through the mud to a convincing triumph in a showpiece that had been postponed from Christmas to early January.

Tom and Kerry Lee enjoyed a memorable interview after Mountainous's Welsh National success
For Kerry Lee, who had saddled her first runner only six months earlier, it was a win of massive significance, made even sweeter by the fact her brother Tom was working at Chepstow for Channel 4 Racing that afternoon.

"It was surreal but in a truly magical way," said Tom Lee. "To have been doing the telly was the cherry on the icing on the cake."

He has nothing more to prove and deserves a well-earned career change
E.W. Terms
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