Westbury-on-Severn trainer Adrian Wintle is enjoying a purple patch at present, Espinator at Newton Abbot today providing a third winner within a month.
Keepers Choice, a seven year old mare who doesn't know how to run a bad race, started the sequence at Bath in a 6f handicap on June 4, following up a second time at the same venue 8 days later. Lightning doesn't often strike three times, but she was only narrowly beaten by the better-bred Arctic Emperor from Archie Watson's 10 days later when returning to Bath a third time. I'm sure she'll be winning again there; she certainly knows her way around.
As if to show his versatility, Adrian produced Espinator to win at Newton Abbot this afternoon in division II of the 2m5f handicap hurdle. Leading into the final bend, the French-bred gelding was challenged and found more to win by 1 1/4l, ridden by Kevin Brogan. Having broken his duck at the eleventh attempt, you'd hope he'd be slightly ahead of the handicapper.
Newton Abbot was also the scene for another Point-to-Point graduate triumph this afternoon, when Claire Hitch, former secretary of the Dulverton West at Bratton Down, trained her second winner of this term, and third overall, in the opening maiden hurdle, with a ten year old called Every Breakin Wave. He's a Johnny-come-lately at that age, but there's a first for everything.
Claire's no stranger to success between the flags; 37 winners and counting to date.
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