Smart Stat: 16% - Chris Wall's strike rate with handicap debutants
Spit Spot shaped with promise on her first two starts at Windsor and over course and distance in races which have worked out well and it is probably best not to judge her too harshly on her latest effort when she was ridden too aggressively. She has seemingly been brought along with handicaps in mind, representing a yard that do especially well with such types and, though an opening mark of 70 is no gift, it would be no surprise to see her show much-improved form now.
Smart Stat: 24% - James Doyle's strike rate at CHELMSFORD CITY
Aphelios bumped into some promising types on his first three starts and duly showed improved form when opening his account on handicap debut at Windsor in May. Admittedly, that wasn't an overly deep race, and he was unable to progress again when finishing runner-up on his final start for Harry & Roger Charlton at Nottingham in June. He has since changed hands for 70,000 guineas to connections who have an excellent record with new recruits. It is encouraging he is strong in the market this morning and he is just the type who will win more races.
Smart Stat: 21% - Simon & Ed Crisford's strike rate with horses running over 10f+
Smart Contender did show ability in some above-average contests on his first three starts, so it was no surprise that he was sent off favourite for his handicap debut at Hamilton last time. He raced too freely that day following a six-week break, but that run should have sharpened him up somewhat, and it is too soon to be writing him off. The return to a mile and a quarter should help and the switch to an all-weather surface may bring about some improvement, too.