BLISTERING was the heat and blistering was the speed Dragon Leader displayed to land the juvenile maiden in breathtaking style, a success trainer Clive Cox could hardly have imagined.

"We thought it would be very much a learning curve and our expectations were not very high," he confessed after the race run under the banner of the late Queen's 44 winners at the course. "We thought it would be very much a case learning on the job."

The two-year-old has been - to use his words - "naughty " at the stalls, indeed he had to be withdrawn from proposed debut after becoming unruly at the start. Not surprisingly, he was slowly away and looked to be placed at best as Johnny Johnson comfortably led inside the final furlong. But then Dragon Leader zipped into top gear and scorched past the pacemaker to win going away by a length and three quarters. 

"He has been making gradual progress but has not been straightforward at the stalls. I thought he would be better for the run and am absolutely over the moon. I have always liked him as a yearling and you can there is potential in abundance."

Cox is always a man to be feared with his two-year-olds at the track but it has taken until the third meeting for him to register such a winner this season, the youngsters having been slow to hand because of the cold Spring.

He has no plans for firm plans for Dragon Leader, unlike Sky Wizard who put his experience to good use when he gradually but remorselessly overhauled Equity Law in the first division of the six-furlong maiden.

However, don't expect him to turn out at Royal Ascot next week. "Too close for that," said Cox of the James Garfield colt who is entered in several lucrative sales races in the late summer and early autumn. "We will find something in between."

Evidence of the fast ground came with Equitorial breaking the seven-furlong course record by half a second. The Showcasing colt carries his head a little high but he is far from ungenuine. "That's simply his gait," said jockey David Egan who believes he can only improve with more racing. "A quick break from the stalls was the key to his success. He was more professional today, it's taken two races for him to get the hang of things."

Both James Ferguson and Roaring Legend ended frustrating runs when the three-year-old, benefitting from a step up in trip and sporting first-time cheekpieces, ran out the easy winner of the 12-furlong maiden.

David Muscott said of the previous luckless seven-run loser: "He will probably stay a bit further. He was most experienced runner in the race. I was quite happy to make it but if someone else wanted to do so, that was fine. I was able to switch him off and took it up three and a half out. He kept on finding."