Smart Stat: 3 - Alan King's number of winners in the past eight runnings
Alan King has won this three times in the last eight years, including with subsequent Grade 1 winner Balder Succes. King has a fascinating contender this year in the shape of Tritonic, who showed useful form on the Flat, notably finishing runner-up in the Golden Gates Handicap at Royal Ascot. He displayed admirable consistency in 2020, running to a Timeform rating in excess of 100 on all five starts, and he is an exciting recruit to hurdling.
Smart Stat: 27% - Paul Nicholls' strike rate at Taunton since the start of the 2015/16 season
Even by Paul Nicholls' high standards a strike rate of 27% at Taunton is impressive - he operates at around the 24% mark overall - and he has a good chance of enhancing that with Yala Enki. Yala Enki would be giving plenty of weight to his rivals were this a handicap, so he is extremely well treated by the terms of this contest. He arrives on the back of a creditable third in the Welsh National and should be able to retain the Portman Cup.
Smart Stat: £58.00 - Adam West's profit to a £1 level stake with horses running after a break
Alnasherat hasn't run since finishing down the field at Catterick in October on his final start for James Tate. However, trainer Adam West posts a healthy level-stake profit with horses running after a break, offering hope that fitness won't be an issue for Alnasherat on his first start for the yard. Alnasherat was arguably unlucky not to win at Kempton on his penultimate outing - he was denied a clear run at a crucial point - and ace apprentice Laura Pearson is an extremely positive jockey booking.