FIRST IN COMMAND is at last making the most of his slide down the weights and bids for a C&D hat-trick having won by over two lengths without breaking sweat last week. He has to be the selection, despite a penalty, as Daniel Loughnane's charge has already beaten half this field. The Magic Of Rio followed him home last week while Sandwith, Slatey Hen, Fashion Icon and Chosen One never got near him the week before. Ever Roses scored in heavy ground at Newcastle in August and could prove the main threat ahead of Bookiesindex Boy.
First In Command (IRE) 5-6fav (9-8) Held up in touch, cruised up to join leader 1f out, led on bit inside final furlong, very easily, won at Southwell 5f hcp (0-55) (6) fbs beating The Magic Of Rio (8-4) by 2 1/4l, 8 ran.
Lesley's Choice 33-1 (9-1) Chased leaders, lost place 2f out, weakened over 1f out, 13th of 14, 14l behind Global Village (9-8) at Southwell 6f hcp 0-70 (5) fbs in Dec.
Ever Roses 9-1 (9-7) In rear, ridden after 2f, never a factor, 5th of 7, 10l behind Deliberation (9-6) at Hamilton 6f 3yo hcp 0-65 (6) gs in Aug.
Sandwith 7-1 (8-13) Chased leaders, ridden and every chance over 1f out, kept on one pace final furlong, 4th of 12, 3l behind First In Command (9-2) at Southwell 5f hcp 0-60 (6) fbs.
Slatey Hen (IRE) 15-2 (8-6) Led, ridden over 1f out, headed and no extra inside final furlong, 6th of 9, 4 1/2l behind Shawkantango (9-6) at Wolverhampton 5f hcp 0-65 (6) pol.
Chosen One (IRE) 25-1 (9-4) Led, ridden and headed approaching 2f out, soon weakened, 11th of 12, 20l behind First In Command (9-2) at Southwell 5f hcp 0-60 (6) fbs.
Bookiesindex Boy 11-1 (9-5) Keen led after 1f, clear halfway, ridden and headed inside final furlong, no extra, 7th of 10, 4 1/2l behind Welcome Approach (9-4) at Kempton 6f hcp 0-60 (6) pol.
Fashion Icon (USA) 33-1 (9-1) Prominent, ridden halfway, weakened approaching final furlong, 8th of 12, 10l behind First In Command (9-2) at Southwell 5f hcp 0-60 (6) fbs.
Bird Dog 14-1 (8-10) Raced wide, chased leaders, ridden 3f out, weakened over 2f out, last of 10, 17l behind Lizzy's Dream (9-2) at Wolverhampton 5f hcp 0-50 (7) pol.
The Magic of Rio 10-1 (8-4) Led, ridden 2f out, headed and soon outclassed by winner inside final furlong, 2nd of 8, 2 1/4l behind First In Command (9-8) at Southwell 5f hcp (0-55) (6) fbs.