SALISBURY'S Molly Stratton couldn't have written the script better - her first winner achieved at her local track in front of her ecstatic family and friends who engulfed her after the thrilling finish.

Molly gushed after a last-gasp win on Desert Doctor in the amateur riders handicap on Friday, September 1: "I'm lost for words. It's amazing, quite surreal."

Stratton, 25, studied at the British Racing School in Newmarket as a teenager and after her graduation rode work for local trainers Ralph Beckett and Andrew Balding and competed as an amateur jockey for Brendan Powell, her five rides yielding three places but sadly no winners. 

It was time to move on and four years ago, she became assistant head girl at the Upper Lambourn yard of Ed Walker, who encouraged her to return to race riding and if something suitable emerged, she would get the chance - and it did, much to her initiative.

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Molly said: "I knew I was getting the ride 10 days ago. In fact, I found the race."

Despite her mount being a little awkward leaving the stalls, the one-mile handicap could hardly have gone better for her.

She said: "I wanted to sit handy and track the leaders. I was happy where I was, getting cover and I pushed him to the outside when I wanted."

The eight-year-old, who had only won one of his previous 19 outings, thwarted the favourite Luna Magic in the shadow of the post to win by a neck.

Molly said: "He was absolutely great and looked after me."

Walker, who has said of Stratton "she brings a great deal of experience to the team and is an excellent rider," saddled one other runner at the meeting with Quickfire who at the weights had little hope of overturning the 4/11 favourite Lexington Belle who was 10lb well in - and so it proved. Kieran O'Neill had an armchair ride, taking two long looks over his left shoulder at his two toiling rivals in the final furlong to run out a five-and-a-half lengths winner.

It was the first day at school for Solar Aclaim and trainer Roger Teal hoped he would run a nice race. That seemed somewhat optimistic when he was badly bumped at the start, pulled hard and clipped another runner in the six-furlong juvenile maiden but when a gap appeared on the rails, he quickly exploited it to narrowly hold off the odds-on favourite Debora's Dream.  

"We bought him at a breeze-up sale and taken our time with him. We have had our problems with him, he has been quite edgy but he has shown he has quite an engine and went through the gap. He was very professional."

Imperiousity has been a tricky customer in the past but the application of blinkers seems to have transformed him. Just denied at Goodwood last week, he went one better in the sprint by half a length, though in truth he had more than in hand than the winning margin of half a length would suggest. 

"We went a good gallop," reported David Egan who enjoyed a double with Mudskipper in the following mile handicap. "They are finishing tired, although it's not really soft ground, more dead. He was drawn on the inside and I kept it simple."