FOLLOWING a review of the 2022 racing programme, the British Horseracing Authority, the sport's governing body, contacted Salisbury about moving their all-age valuable Cathedral Stakes from its traditional spot on the eve of Royal Ascot. 

The course promptly brought forward the feature to highlight the 2023 May Saturday evening card for the benefit of both meetings, and this season's renewal attracted quality if not quantity, reflected by the rare presence of Newmarket trainer Roger Varian. He saddled Sakheer who two years ago looked out of the top drawer when taking Newbury's Horris Hill Stakes, but his career since then has been to say the least underwhelming. Midfield in last season's 2,000 Guineas, he flopped in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

Having his first outing since, he was taken wide but the Zoffany colt was too keen for his own good and though he held a length's lead until halfway, he was soon swamped and dropped out tamely as Raqiya held off a determined challenge from Funny Story. 

However, the winning filly will be a notable absentee from the royal meeting, trainer Owen Burrows hoping for an Indian summer with the three-year-old who has finally filled out her frame and relishes quick ground. Significantly, she had been withdrawn from a race at Haydock 24 hours earlier because of the desperate going.

"It's tough taking on older horses but we decided to have a punt. She has always shown a fair level at home and hopefully she will go forward from this," said Burrows who will talk to connections before mapping out a plan. 

Joe Leavy literally experienced the ups and downs of racing - a winner and then a fall. First, to the delight of a sun-drenched crowd, he partnered the favourite Miss Collada to run out a comfortable winner in the opening juvenile sprint.

"Very straightforward," was his assessment of the two-year-old who gave him his first winner at the track, putting her experience to good use. "She knew her job, settled beautifully and when the cutway came, she put the race to bed. She buckled down well, loves her races and hopefully she will improve. She can be a bit of a handful at home but you don't mind that when they put their head down and win!"

But minutes later, the apprentice was fortunate to escape injury when his mount Nevernay was squeezed for room in the six furlong sprint and crashed against the rails. Leavy was unseated and took a tumbling fall. Thankfully, he got up within seconds unhurt.

The eventful race fell to Noel Fox who gave Hampshire trainer Ralph Beckett his fourth winner of the day. The 160,000 guinea purchase missed the break on his debut last month when he was strongly fancied and the experience was not lost on him as jockey Rhys Clutterbuck explained: "He has come on plenty from that. She didn't get away that easy at Newbury and used up too much gas to get there."

Three races in quick succession was the reason why Silver Trumpet flopped in his last outing at Kempton, according to Eve Johnson Houghton, but the three-year-old, who hitherto had been campaigned on the all weather, made a successful transition to turf.

"We will have to see what the handicapper will do," she said of the grey gelding who was a late foal and is only just three now. "I had to give him time. You can't push water uphill. you have to wait, you can't rush them."