SPARSHOLT trainer Harry Whittington equalled his previous best tally of 21 winners in a National Hunt season when Vinnie Lewis stormed to victory 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 facile success 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: “He’s very straightforward and he’s done everything right. He’s jumped and he’s travelled and loves this soft ground, which is a massive asset in a race like this.

“He won so well at Sedgefield the last day. I know it was a big step up in grade and he’d gone up in the handicap, but he’s young and he’s improving and hopefully he can keep going forward.”

Letcombe Bassett trainer Mark Bradstock 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.

On the Flat, Blewbury trainer Eve Johnson Houghton, who saddled Goring to notch her 53rd winner in Britain of 2017 on New Year’s Eve at Lingfield, 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 beat Rapid Rise by half a length in a six-furlong handicap.

Greatrex had also been in the saddle as Goring followed up his course and distance win at Lingfield from earlier in the month by posting a two-lengths verdict in a mile handicap.

West Ilsley trainer Mick Channon also struck with his first runner of the year when Summer Icon triumphed in a fast-track qualifier at Wolverhampton.