CIEREN Fallon says a smile goes a long way, so he was naturally delight with Running Queen whose decisive success in the fillies race at Salisbury's first meeting of the year may justify an entry at Royal Ascot in June.

The Kingman juvenile displayed understandable inexperience on her debut at Windsor a fortnight ago but was more street wise in the five furlong dash yesterday in which she comfortably saw off previous winner Betty Clover.

Trainer Ollie Sangster, who has now won with two of the three juveniles he has run this season, acknowledged she had learnt a lot from her first outing. "She's a really nice all action filly who will improve on better ground."

Two rivals, including a stable mate, were withdrawn because of the heavy going but Sangster, who has 40 two-year-olds at his Marlborough yard, had never considered that option. He is now tempted to run her at York's Dante meeting this month prior to Ascot, though he is unsure whether she will stick to the minimum trip or tackle six furlongs.

His euphoria was in stark contrast to that of one unfortunate punter who dropped a £200 winning ticket. Another racegoer picked it up as fast as Running Queen flashed past the post and immediately collected the other man's winnings before disappearing into the bumper crowd.

Megan Jordan rode the eighth winner of her career on Dakota Star for owner/trainer Roger Teal for whom she rides out and has provided her with most of her victories. Watched by her thrilled parents, she was drawn in the centre of the 13 strong field in the seven-furlong handicap for amateur riders, giving her the option to either head to the favoured stands side when the ground is soft or stay on the far side. 

"Nobody seemed to know which way to go but I got a nice lead," she said of her decision to defy convention. "About three and a half out, I moved forward and took it up about two out when he quickened well in the ground. After that, I never saw another rival!"

Quite unlike what followed when Sub Thirteen got up in the last stride in the five furlong handicap. Four of the five runners were virtually in line a furlong out but Sub Thirteen, who had been kept in last place for most of the race, snatched the spoils by a nose to enhance trainer Tony Carroll's run of form.

"I would have been gutted if he had been beaten," remarked winning rider William Carson. "When I got there, the field quickened. He would have won more easily had it been better ground."

The same comment was applied to Fast Society who made all to win the seven novice stakes, shrugging off a 5lb penalty for winning at Southwell in September. "He's learning all the time," said Sam Hoskins, chairman of the Kennet Valley Syndicates. "We're pleased with that. He has been a slow learner but has a great attitude. He should get a mile in time."