04/17/2004 12:00AM

Salford City overcomes poor start


Salford City benefited from a patient ride by Johnny Murtagh to win the Group 3 Greenham Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

The David Elsworth-trained Salford City missed the break and was well behind in 10th before Murtagh angled him through a gap at the furlong pole, at which point the 3.30-1 winner accelerated to overtake the pacesetting Fokine for a 1 3/4-length victory. The time for the straight seven furlongs on good ground was 1:26.97.

Milk It Mick, the 3-1 favorite, failed to sustain his bid and came home fifth, beaten four lengths.

A half-brother to Group 2 Dante Stakes winner Salford Express and to Irish Derby runner-up Definite Article, the Michael Tabor-owned Salford City had won his only previous start, a one-mile maiden race at Newbury last October, by seven lengths. He will now head to Newmarket for the 2000 Guineas on May 1 for a clash with One Cool Cat, Grey Swallow, and Haafhd, the winner of last Thursday's Craven Stakes.

Majestic Desert solidified her 1000 Guineas credentials with a one-length score over Nyramba as the 3-2 choice in the Group 3 Fred Darling Stakes. Trained by Michael Channon, Majestic Desert had previously finished just a short head behind Carry on Katie in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes on Oct. 2 when Nyramba, who finished fastest of all in the Fred Darling, was last of 10. The winning time for the seven furlongs was 1:29.51, or 2.54 seconds slower than that posted by Salford City in the Greenham.