IT was a case of heads up and heads down in what was a dramatic opener to Salisbury's evening card on Saturday.

One stride from the post, Inclement Weather was in front and one stride after he was ahead but right on the line he was mugged by the enigmatic Voltaic as the two pulled clear in the one mile women amateur riders handicap.

"I thought I had just won, " beamed Sarah Bowen. "But I didn't want to get too excited just in case." An ironic choice of words, for as soon as she went to weigh in, the ominous claxon sounded for a stewards inquiry but though the two principals got close in the final furlong, there was no contact.

The race began with ten runners but ended with only eight. Vision Clear dumped Michelle Bryant in front of the stands to be withdrawn after running loose and Jessica Llwellyn was thrown out of the side door when Sir Plato jinked leaving the stalls.

Bowen, who kept Voltaic at the rear of the field before making steady headway to join issue two out, said of the seven-year-old who was ending a 19 winless run: "His heart is in the right place but you must hold onto him as long as you can and then commit."

On breeding, Task Force stood out in the juvenile race and so it proved, giving trainer Ralph Beckett and Juddmonte meagre compensation for the narrow defeat of Westover in the big race at Ascot.  Hedge Fund tried to make all but once the heavily supported Task Force drew alongside, the result was a foregone conclusion.

Jockey Rhys Clutterbuck was certainly impressed. "I rode out on him yesterday morning in a light canter. I knew he had an engine, and tonight he showed it as well as being very professional. True, he probably didn't beat much but he did it really easily."

Juddmonte were expected to mop up the six-furlong maiden with Doncaster scorer Primeval who was chalked up at the prohibitive betting odds of 1/6 but he was withdrawn after losing a shoe on the way to the stalls where Smalleytime briefly unshipped Thore Hammer Hansen. The pair were quickly reunited and then silenced the huge crowd with a facile success at 40/1. 

Hansen, who believes the two-year-old will be better over long trips, said of the three and a half lengths winner: "He jumped out well, settled well and took me there." 

Ross Coakley modesty blamed pilot error for not getting the sprint wrapped earlier than he did, his mount Alpine Girl coming with a surging late on the outside to snatch the spoils in the dying strides but the filly had made life difficult. When he angled out to launch his challenge, she markedly drifted to her left. "She got a bit lonely and it took a few strides to get it together but to her credit, she put her head down and it was only in the last 100 yards I thought I had a chance."