JEFF Smith, chairman of Salisbury racecourse, enjoyed one of his greatest successes as an owner - and possibly the most satisfying - when his flying filly Alcohol Free took the prestigious July Cup at Newmarket yesterday (Sat) in devastating style.

Having twice scored at the highest level as a miler, sceptics feared her speed might have been blunted as she reverted to sprinting.

But Smith knew otherwise and the stiff track played to her advantage.

Tucking her in behind the trail blazing Naval Crown, who had comprehensively beaten her at Royal Ascot, Rob Hornby made significant headway two furlongs out and swooping a furlong out, impressively strode clear to win by a comfortable one and a half lengths.

It represented a brilliant training performance by Andrew Balding and his Highclere team to bring back her back to six furlongs after her stamina was stretched to run in the 1,000 Guineas and other mile races.

Smith, who has a major breeding operation at Littleton Stud, near Winchester, was not present and watched the drama unfold at home.

Anna Lisa Balding, representing her husband at the track, paid tribute. "Jeff has always said six furlongs is the right trip so he deserves a lot of credit."

Hornby, winning his second Group 1 race in as many days, said: "She has been an absolute star for Mr Smith who is a huge supporter of this sport. The thinking was that in this race, her stamina would kick up the hill. She did see it out well."

Alcohol Free will probably step up in distance for her next run when she returns to Goodwood for the Sussex Stakes which she won last year.