Racing: Llewellyn to enter the Party spirit: Riders battle to recover for Aintree mounts as Piggott hopes to end a long losing run

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The Independent Online
Carl Llewellyn, who has an unbeaten partnership with last year's Grand National winner Party Politics, believes he is now certain to be in the saddle when the nine-year-old attempts a repeat victory at Aintree next week.

The jockey's collar-bone, fractured when Andrew's First was brought down at Cheltenham last Wednesday, is healing fast and his specialist expects him to be fit for Ascot, three days before the National.

Keeping fit with workouts on an exercise bike and treadmill, Llewellyn said yesterday: 'I have a lead wrist-band fitted to keep the arm muscles working, and everyone seems delighted the way the collar-bone is repairing. Unless there is an unexpected problem I'll be back for Mole Board at Ascot.'

Another injured rider attempting to beat injury to ride at Aintree is Richard Guest. He puts his fitness on the line this morning, determined to establish whether he is ready to ride Romany King in the race on Saturday, 3 April.

Guest will partner some of trainer Toby Balding's more demanding horses in a test of his recovery from a broken left leg, shattered at Wolverhampton in November. He has been riding out for the last few weeks, but a bad bout of 'flu has held up his recovery and prompted Balding to put understudy Adrian Maguire on standby for Aintree.

Maguire yesterday recorded the first century of his young career when landing a double on OK Corral and Trendy Auctioneer at Plumpton. The total represents a remarkable achievement for the Irishman, in only his second season with a full licence. Only Richard Dunwoody and Peter Scudamore, fighting out the championship, have beaten him to the landmark.

After Maguire had ridden a beautifully judged race to win the March Selling Handicap Hurdle on the uncooperative Trendy Auctioneer, he said: 'I'm absolutely delighted to get the 100 up at this stage of the season.

'Fifth would have done me before the season started, and I was never getting carried away with the championship talk earlier in the winter. Realistically, I never had a chance of beating Peter and Richard - they both had plenty of top class horses still to come out.'

Maguire is naturally looking forward to next week's Aintree meeting, though it was not a lucky fixture for him last year - a fall from Sibton Abbey on the Friday preventing him from riding Cool Ground in the big race.

(Photograph omitted)

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