MEGALLAN put a gruelling trip to Paris to contest the French Derby behind him when he landed Salisbury’s prestigious race of the season last week.

The horse is named after the famed Portuguese explorer but in his historic trans-Pacific expedition, he could not have endured a worst passage than the Kingman colt suffered travelling to and from Chantilly which took three times longer than average and on the hottest three days of the year.

“It was a complete nightmare,” owner Anthony Oppenheimer revealed after accepting the Sovereign Stakes trophy. “It took 12 hours there and 12 hours back. He needed time to recover and have a rest,” he said. “Today we hoped he would what he can do.”

And do it, he did.

Three-year-olds have a dire record in the group three race but that did not deter punters who heavily backed him into 7/4 favouritism.

Robert Havlin had Magellan tucked just behind the leaders in a sedately run affair until Richard Kingscote went for home just over three furlongs out on Solid Stone but the tactic did not work and once swallowed up by the pack, Sir Busker took up the running but Magellan overhauled him inside the final furlong to score by a comfortable length.

Owner Anthony Oppenheimer believes a trip between a mile and a mile and two furlongs is his ideal trip and will leave future plans in the hands of trainer John Gosden. “If he remains sound, I can see no reason why he cannot be kept in training next season.”

Havlin said: “He travelled into the race really well and when the other horse came on the outside, he knuckled down well.”

He also agrees that a trip back to 10 furlongs would not be outside his comfort zone. “He used to be a free going horse but he’s different now, much more relaxed, settles better. The last time (In France) was a waste of time. He ran flat. I hope there’s more to come. He has always shown a lot of potential.”

Laura Pearson enhanced her burgeoning reputation by holding off a determined challenge from champion jockey Oisin Murphy to land the maiden fillies stakes for her boss, Newmarket-based Tom Clover.

The market leaders had the race to themselves at the business end but Thebeautifulgame, who took up the running two out, never looked like surrendering the initiative to the favourite Mistrix and held on by a neck to give Pearson her 52nd winner.

The filly had just lost out at Epsom. “A few more strides and we would have got there. She is a really game filly and I was confident she would get the trip.”

However, Murphy was not to leave the track empty handed, enjoying a double with Undertheboardwalk and Silent Flame.

Brian Meehan has such a vaulted opinion of the former he is not tempted to run the juvenile with a penalty in his follow-up race but raise him in class. Despite the rigorous challenge from Peintre D’Etoiles and Red Genesis, the Acclamation colt was never headed in the second division of the novices stakes with Murphy impressed.

“She was very professional,” he said of the two-year-old who has only been with Meehan for about a month. “I hope she will go forward from this and she will stay a mile. She has a good brain and gave me a super ride.”

The Muphy/Rod Millman partnership has been highly rewarding for punters this season and the combination struck again when Silent Flame readily took the six furlong handicap.

“Improving” was both men’s opinion of the three-year-old who has come into her own this season with wins at Salisbury and Flos Las, leaving Millman to add: “She’s lovely filly with a good attitude. She was backward as a two-year-old but has thrived this year.”

Local trainer Patrick Chamings has endured a miserable series of seconds this season but the hitherto nine-race maiden Magical Dragon changed his luck when running away with the one-mile handicap. “Thrilled,” was his understandable reaction to his 50/1 winner. “We went too far with him last time and a mile is obviously his best trip.

Jockey Henry Crouch concurred: “Patrick was quite confident beforehand. I know it’s easy to say that with hindsight, but he was pleased with his performance and the drop back to this stiff mile worked out perfectly well. He was off the bridle throughout but the further he went, the better he went.”