HARRY Whittington equalled his previous best tally of 21 winners in a National Hunt season when Vinnie Lewis stormed to victory for his Sparsholt stables, near Wantage, in the At The Races Sussex National at Plumpton.

Formerly trained in Ireland by Jimmy Mangan, the seven-year-old opened his account for Whittington with a victory at Sedgefield in November, and followed up in great style in this three-and-a-half-mile £30,000 handicap chase.

Harry Bannister sent his mount into the lead at the fourth fence from home, and the 7-2 favourite galloped on strongly to pass the post six lengths clear of Shanroe Santos.

The winning jockey said: “I know it was a big step-up in grade and he’d gone up in the handicap, but he’s young and improving and hopefully he can keep going forward.”

Mark Bradstock, who trains at Letcombe Bassett, near Wantage, ended his long wait for a first winner this season on the same card when Jaisalmer got off the mark by taking the opening two-mile novices’ hurdle.

The handler of 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Coneygree had not visited the winner’s enclosure since Step Back scored at Ludlow in February last year.

But he ended the barren run when the six-year-old mare stayed on well to deny Miss Adventure by a length and a quarter under Nico De Boinville.

Chipping Norton trainer Charlie Longsdon believes there is no reason why Pete The Feat cannot return to Sandown in 2019 in a bid to regain his crown in the 32Red Veterans’ Handicap Chase Final after his evergreen star finished a brave second to Buywise in this year’s race.

The oldest horse in Saturday’s £100,000 contest after just turning 14, Pete The Feat looked as if he would repeat last year’s success when he led over the second-last fence under Jonathan Burke.

But fellow 12-1 shot Buywise swooped late in the hands of Leighton Aspell to win by two lengths for trainer Evan Williams.

Longsdon said of his gallant veteran: “I am so proud of the old boy. He is 14 and there is no reason why he can’t come again next year. Everyone loves Pete.”

With the prospect of testing conditions prevailing for some time, Ben Case, who trains at Edgcote, near Banbury, is in no rush to run his easy Warwick winner Themanfrom Minella again quickly.

The eight-year-old was heavily-eased down by Max Kendrick as he passed the post four and a half lengths clear of Paddy The Oscar in a three-mile handicap chase, and Case said: “It is hard work, but he loves this ground and I will just give him a bit of space between his races.”

On the Flat, Eve Johnson Houghton, who saddled Goring to notch her 53rd winner in Britain of 2017 at Lingfield for her Blewbury stables, near Didcot, made a flying start to 2018 when New Rich recorded a fifth course and distance success at Kempton.

Edward Greatrex brought the eight-year-old from last to first to win by half a length in a six-furlong handicap.

Greatrex had also been in the saddle as Goring powered home by two lengths from Alfred Hutchinson.