SALISBURY'S racecourse supremo Jeremy Martin adopted a phlegmatic attitude over the poor turn out for the Tattersalls Sovereign Stakes, traditionally the richest race in their 16 meetings programme. 

Despite carrying a £70,000 purse with nearly £40,000 destined for the winner, the one-mile group three contest only attracted 11 entries.

That shrivelled to just six at the 48 -hour declaration stage and then Pogo defected in favour of the valuable Hungerford Stakes run over a furlong less at Newbury on Saturday.

Three of the challengers came from Newmarket but local yards were sadly not represented.

"It's our Crown Jewels," he said of the race which only attracted four runners last year. "Seven is the average and I think it reflects the times that there are not many horses appropriate to run in it. It is though disappointing. It would have been nice to have one or two more but I am happy with the quality."

When asked if the race conditions needed to be adjusted to entice a bigger field, he replied: "I would consider anything that would benefit the race."

What it lacked in quality and quantity was more than compensated in a thrilling finish with Mighty Ulysses and Embesto dead heating and a relieved Oisin Murphy offering his hand to congratulate fellow rider David Egan in the unsaddling enclosure.

Murphy cut out the running with the northern raider Chichester who dropped away two out where Egan, partnering Embesto, thought he was going better of the pair but Mighty Ulysses suddenly picked up again and in a driving finish Embesto collared him on the line. "I wasn't sure if I had won," said Murphy, giving the impression he felt he had been mugged. 

Egan, who rides Embesto in his home work, was fulsome in his praise of the Roaring Line colt who won his first two outings before losing out to what he regards as a super star in Nostrum in a listed race at Newmarket last month.

"A step up to ten furlongs can only be a positive for him."

Mighty Ulysses was the third leg of a treble for Murphy, first partnering Romanova to give Ollie Sangster first winner at the track. Quickly away in the seven-furlong opener, the 5/2 favourite was never headed and only had to be pushed out.

"A nice filly," declared Sangster who trains on the family estate at Manton after taking out a licence a year ago.

Romanova was given a stiff debut in a listed race on her debut at Sandown three weeks ago but, though unplaced, showed enough to demonstrate the seven furlong task was well within her capability.

"A nice springboard into today's race," Sangster reflected. "She has a nice action and is ground versatile."

On the strength of his no fluke success at Leicester, Welleff was backed as though defeat was out of the question in the novice stakes, supported from 11/10 to 1/2.

Richard Kingscote held the two-year-old at the quarters of the pace making Crown Dreams but when push came to shove, he could only run on at one pace and was swept aside by Dreamrocker, losing second spot close home.

The former champion jockey's hopes of a four-times quickly evaporated two furlong out when Queen Regent dropped tamely away in the fillies handicap.

On paper, it looked a competitive affair but once Rob Hornby made his move on Mistral Star, the race was a forgone conclusion as he put daylight between her and the other six runners.

Welleff's trainer Owen Burrows had compensation when the well backed Mantoog took the closing 10 furlong handicap