Smart Stat: 21% - Alan King's strike rate in early season since the start of the 2012/13 season
The market has this as a match between Jukebox Jive and Thounder but it wouldn’t be a huge shock if Lisp outran his odds. He didn’t achieve a great deal in three starts on the Flat for Charles Hills but two of those came over a mile, a trip which isn’t likely to suit given his breeding (related to stayers Thomas Campbell and Coeur de Lion). It’s still very early days with him and he may well do better now sent hurdling for Alan King, who does well during this period of the season.
Smart Stat: 24% - Harry Fry's strike rate with hurdlers running between 2m2f and up to 2m6f since the start of the 2011/12 season
The Smart Stats all point to a bet here on Melrose Boy. Harry Fry has won the last two renewals of this race (including with Unowhatimeanharry in 2015) and has an excellent strike-rate with his hurdlers running at this sort of distance. Melrose Boy is potentially well treated from a BHA mark of 123 based on his second to River Wylde (third in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle) at Ludlow last season, and with this step up in trip expected to suit him, he looks to have an excellent chance of giving his yard a third successive win in this handicap.
Smart Stat: £26.28 - Colin Tizzard's profit with chasers running after a break since the start of the 2011/12 season
Fergal Mael Duin completely lost his way last season after finishing a good second in this race (beat the re-opposing Cyclop) but he has a good record fresh (won both of his reappearances for the last two seasons) and may well have benefited from a break for a yard that have a solid level-stake profit with chasers returning from absences. He is one to consider here now only 1 lb above his last winning mark.