CLIVE Cox captured his half century of winners at Salisbury in style when Benefit came late and fast to snatch the Cathedral Stakes, praising course supremo Jeremy Martin on the quality of the sun drenched turf.

The Hungerford trainer walked much of the last two furlongs out of concern for the big filly who he acknowledges prefers some give in the ground but he needn't have worried.

Although the going was described as good, good to firm in places, he never harboured any fears of withdrawing the Acclamation filly who gave jockey John Fahy his first listed class winner. "She has a liking for easy ground and this was the fastest surface we have ever run her on but Jeremy always provides decent ground and if we were ever going to test her on it, this was the place to come."

Cox, who took the £100,000 sprint at York on Sunday, is in tremendous form. "It's absolutely wonderful for us to go into Royal Ascot in this way. The horses are running as well as they can, and please God, this will last for a long time."

Cox, who nominates his speedy juvenile Salisbury winner Katey Kontent as his best hope in his 16 entries at the royal meeting, was delighted Benefit had given Fahy his most prestigious winner. "John works so hard behind the scenes and has a great rapport with this filly."

Cox naturally has no specific plans for the three-year-old but confirmed she will be upgraded. "Having won a listed race, it will give us more opportunity. She's very strong, very honest and we can look forward to seeing her raised in class."

All horses look fast passing trees but there was no mistaking quality when Minnetonka ran away with the juvenile race to give trainer Richard Hannon his 11th success with two-year-olds this season.

The Kingman filly was unfancied in the market, markedly drifting from 5/1 to her starting price on 17/2 but no one told her.

Smartly away, she was initially pestered for the lead by the outsider Nordic Star but shaken up two out, she quickly put daylight between her and the other five runners to win by an impressive seven lengths.

Hannon was not at the track and Dobbs wouldn't talk to the press afterwards so future plans are obviously unclear, though it appears she has not yet been entered in any major middle or end of season races. That doubtless will change.

Unlike Minnetonka, there was an abundance of morning money for Sayifyouwill whose price was slashed from 10/1 into 9/2. Handily placed throughout, she took the lead a furlong out to thwart the favourite Rose Barton.

Surprisingly for a horse who had won five races, rattling up three consecutive victories earlier this year, Sayifyouwill had never scored on grass in what was her 27th race.

So why has it taken so long? Winning rider Sean Levey put it down to age.

"I think in her earlier days she was a bit weak but looking at her in the paddock, I think she looks much more mature. She also got the conditions in her favour today, she prefers top of the ground, there was plenty of pace and the race was run to suit her."

Connor Planas has enjoyed two winners in his fledgling career and both have come at Salisbury. Crystal Casque gave him his first a month and Twilight Tone gave him his second in the six furlong apprentice race.