Racing: Haydock airing for Politics

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The Independent Online
THREE of the first four home in last year's Grand National, who have won just one race between them since their Aintree exertions, attempt to get back in a winning groove on Saturday. Party Politics runs in the Greenalls Gold Cup at Haydock, while the horse that chased him home in April, Romany King, goes to Kempton for the Racing Post Chase in which the winner for the last two years and National fourth, Docklands Express, will be an opponent.

For Party Politics the problems have been wind and water - not enough wind in his pipes and too much water on the tracks. The effects of previous operations to assist his breathing have worn off and the nine-year-old now has a tube in his throat to help air-flow. Restricted to just two outings this season, both on unsuitably soft ground, he has been pulled up on each occasion.

His trainer, Nick Gaselee, is more optimistic for Saturday: 'It looks like we might get much better ground for him and we are hoping the tubing will prove a success.'

Docklands Express has also looked a shadow of himself. Being placed in all the top staying chases of last season, often under big weights, seems to have taken a toll on the gelding whose diminuitive stature could not be more different to that of Party Politics.

He has been sent team chasing and drag hunting by Kim Bailey in an effort to rekindle his brilliance and will have a new jockey on Saturday in Jamie Osborne following the split between Bailey and his former stable jockey Anthony Tory.

Romany King, this year's National favourite and the only one of the three to score this season, has been brought along tenderly by Toby Balding with Aintree clearly in mind. The horse was far from fully fit when third to Mr Entertainer over an inadequate trip at Newbury earlier this month.

Of particular interest at Kempton will be the appearance of another who has been affected by injury, Blazing Walker. He shares favouritism, at 5-1 with Ladbrokes and William Hill, with another potential Cheltenham Gold Cup candidate, Bradbury Star.

BETTING: Racing Post Chase (best prices): 5-1 Bradbury Star, 6-1 Blazing Walker, 7-1 Romany King, Mr Entertainer, 8-1 Tinryland, 9-1 Gold Options, 12-1 Zeta's Lad, 14-1 Docklands Express, Royal Athlete & Calapaez, 16-1 others