Newmarket trainer Martin Smith doubled his score for the season at Uttoxeter yesterday afternoon when Nick Schofield ran out a 2 1/4l winner of the 3m 2f handicap chase on Friends Don't Ask.
The winner looked to have something in hand over runner-up Montanna, from Peter Bowen's yard in South Wales.
Newmarket has a dearth of Jumps trainers presently. The flagbearer last season was Lucy Wadham, with Pam Sly in hot pursuit. But with Nick Littmoden having upped sticks to Metz in France, Jumps handlers are thin on the ground. Welcome then to Martin, whose two steeplechase winners this summer have come from just 5 runners, a very creditable 40% strike rate over the larger obstacles.
Meanwhile, East Anglia continues to provide more than its own fair share of up and coming horses, riders and trainers from the Point-to-Point scene. Whilst stalwarts like John and Mel Sharp will admit they've been around too long to mention, youngsters like Will Featherstone, established riders and trainers like Bradley and Nigel Penfold all contribute toward a rich interest in the sport.
The trend toward early season fixtures continues. The East Anglian season will begin in the absence of Cottenham with the Waveney Harriers fixture at Higham on Sunday November 21st and the Thurlow on New Year's Eve.
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