There is no stopping STEED at the moment. He's rattled up a four-timer since December and the manner of last week's victory over C&D suggests he can defy a double penalty. Kevin Ryan's charge ran out a four-length winner last time and can count Army Of Stars and Buzz Bird among his recent victims. Elhamri has been in fine fettle over 6f here recently but has yet to win over today's trip and Ace Of Spies is weighted to reverse latest form. Smalljohn won at Wolverhampton last month and could prove the biggest threat having gone close on this surface before.
Steed 5-2fav (9-1) Dwelt, pushed along early in rear, ridden over 3f out, good headway 2f out, led over 1f out, ran on, won at Southwell 7f hcp 0-80 (4) fbs beating Just Five (9-4) by 4l, 7 ran.
Elhamri 2-1fav (9-0) Close up, effort to challenge leading pair over 1f out, not much room and switched left just inside final furlong, ran on to lead final strides, readily, won at Southwell 6f hcp 0-80 (4) fbs beating Ace Of Spies (9-0) by 1l, 8 ran.
Smalljohn 8-1 (8-10) Keen led early, tracked leader, ridden 2f out, led inside final furlong, won at Wolverhampton 7f hcp 0-85 (4) pol in Jan beating Striker Torres (8-10) by 3/4l, 8 ran.
Gala Casino Star (IRE) 50-1 (8-7) Soon well off the pace in rear, ridden and struggling 3f out, never a factor, last of 8, 10l behind Advertisement (9-3) at Kempton 7f hcp 0-85 (4) pol.
Ace of Spies (IRE) 9-2 (9-0) Tracked leaders, ridden to lead over 1f out, headed final strides, 2nd of 8, 1l behind Elhamri (9-0) at Southwell 6f hcp 0-80 (4) fbs.
Thunderball 9-2 (9-2) Tracked leader, driven to challenge over 2f out, weakened over 1f out, 6th of 8, 7l behind Faithful Ruler (9-1) at Lingfield 1m 2f clm stks (6) pol in Jan.
Army of Stars (IRE) 15-8 (9-4) Prominent, ridden 3f out, no impression on winner over 1f out, one pace, 3rd of 7, 7l behind El Dececy (9-4) at Southwell 7f sell stks (6) fbs.
Buzz Bird 22-1 (9-5) In rear, ridden halfway, kept on, never nearer, 5th of 9, 13l behind Steed (9-3) at Southwell 1m hcp 0-65 (6) fbs in Jan.