Friday 27 July 2018

Grand National 1992: Party Politics

Party Politics proved an aptly-named winner of the Grand National, galloping to victory in the iconic steeplechase just five days before the Conservatives’ victory, against the odds, in the 1992 General Election. At nearly 18 hands high, the eight-year-old was also the tallest horse ever to win the Grand National. 

Owned by David and Patricia Thompson, who’d actually bought him for £80,000 just 48 hours before the race, and trained by Nick Gaselee, Party Politics was a less-than-obvious choice for the Grand National. He had finished second – albeit beaten 20 lengths by Carvill’s Hill, who won unchallenged – in the Welsh National at Chepstow the previous December, but failed to trouble the judge in two subsequent starts at Haydock and Sandown. Furthermore, his trainer hadn’t saddled a winner since the turn of the year. Nevertheless, the son of Politico was sent off 14/1 seventh choice of the 40 runners, behind favourite Docklands Express at 15/2, probably thanks more to his topical name than his recent achievements on the racecourse. 

Ridden by Carl Llewellyn, Party Politics raced prominently throughout and was in the first half a dozen as the field headed out into the country on the second circuit of the two-and-a-quarter-mile course. Romany King touched down just in front at the fifth fence from home, but was joined, and passed, by Party Politics at the final open ditch. Party Politics led by about 4 lengths turning for home and although Romany King threatened to mount a challenge halfway up the run-in in he could make no real impression in the closing stages and Party Politics held on to win by 2½ lengths. In so doing, he provided Llewellyn with his first National winner. Laura’s Beau finished third, a further 15 lengths away, with favourite Docklands Express 8 lengths further back in fourth place. 

Party Politics returned to Aintree for the “National that never was” in 1993 and again in 1995, when he finished second, beaten 7 lengths, behind Royal Athlete, despite having had a tubing operation to help him breathe while exerting himself. He made his final racecourse appearance in the 1996 Grand National, in which he was behind when falling at the third fence. He enjoyed a happy retirement at Cheveley Park Stud in Newmarket, also owned by David and Patricia Thompson, where he died of natural causes, at the age of 25, in 2009.

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