IT WAS almost action replay at Salisbury today.

Simply track the leader and then slip through on the rails, and that tactic was never better advertised than by Line of Departure who bolted up in the track's feature race today (Sun).

The three-year-old colt followed Shine So Bright and where the rails dipped two furlongs out, David Egan pushed him through the gap to take the valuable Cathedral Stakes by two and a quarter lengths from the favourite Khaadem who raced too freely with Jim Crowley unable to get sufficient cover in the six runner sprint.

Line of Departure had been off the track for some nine months after winning a lucrative sales race at Doncaster and then finishing last of nine in Newbury's Mill Reef Stakes as Roger Varian gave him plenty of time to recover and grow into his frame.

He is also a bit of a reformed character, once working so lazily at home as a juvenile he needed blinkers for his first couple of races to galvanise him.

"But when they came off, he started to get a grip of things,"said David Egan. "He caught me a little by surprise. He normally races behind the bridle but today he travelled well and quickened nicely."

The course had been watered to ensure safety and Egan reported his concern to trainer Roger Varian who had remained at home in Newmarket but the horse was allowed to take his chance.

Sunset Bay was all the rage for the seven furlong handicap, backed in from 6/1 to 6/4 favourite but the gamble went badly astray when Trixie Warterbury followed the tried and tested formula of grabbing the far side fence to burst clear, getting first run on Sunset Bay who had to be switched.

There is Plan A and there is Plan B. The former involves delivering a challenge through a field and the second is making a daring run up the inside. Liam Browne favoured the former on top weight in the seven furlong apprentice handicap but in practice opted for the other - and it worked.

Browne, who joined Richard Hannon in October after leaving his native Ireland, tracked the pacemaker Queen Sarabi, waiting for a gap to appear and when it materialised, the 5lb claimer took advantage to grab his second winner, his first being at Newmarket.

"Mr Jenkins (the trainer) told me to jump out as best I could, drop her into fourth or fifth and try to finish as well as possible. I was confident the gap would come and it did."

Sometimes he settles, sometimes he doesn't, but today Beyond Equal was at its most co-operative, and given an easy lead by top weight Lomu, it was only a question of time before Rob Hornby pressed the accelerator button. He chose that just over one out and the six-year-old surged clear to win the five furlong handicap by a comfortable two lengths.

Hornby, winning his eighth race since returning to the saddle almost a month ago following a horrific shoulder injury in a fall at Wolverhampton in December, said: "I knew that if the first part of the race went well, the rest would follow. I didn't have to be hard on him and he did it nicely."

The beautifully bred Frankella was backed into favourtism for the juvenile race but was never closer than mid-division and only made moderate headway in the final two furlongs which looked set to be fought out by another newcomer in System and the moderate Marsh Belham until Alflaila ran on strongly to win more easily than the official margin of half a length would suggest.