Wrong fav in w/o fav market
Catterick 15.40: 1pt win Matthew Man w/o the fav 11/8
There are likely to be ground changes across the three jumps meetings today, possibly a big one at Fontwell, which makes betting tricky as not only does it become difficult to work out exactly what the ground will be at various stages of the afternoon but also there could be non runners which may impact how a race is likely to be run.
One race that I think is unlikely to be affected by the latter point in the novices' chase at Catterick, in which Ballymoy is effectively priced to jump round. This is the type of race where I like to either bet on the distances (considering running styles, jockey styles, whether anyone will dare risk getting too close to the winner and destroying their future chance in handicaps, etc) or the w/o the favourite or place markets as opportunities can arise in these.
I think the w/o the favourite market for this race has the wrong favourite. Canada Kid is currently the 8/11 fav which I probably because of his trainer who had a double yesterday to follow a double at Wincanton last week. However, i'm not sure Canada Kid's ability entitles him to be in that position in the market. On his return from an 801-day break in a strong novices' chase at Wetherby that was slowly run, he stayed in touch until fairly early in the back straight on the final circuit before dropping away. He also jumped quite poorly, something that he did in British points when trained by Robert Chanin. While he showed some ability in that sphere, he looked slow and quite a tricky ride and given his size I'm not sure that Catterick will suit. Given all of this, I think he's one to take on.
Matthew Man is the second favourite in this market but I think he should swap positions with Canada Kid as he looks the most likely to finish second. Since the start of the 2020 he's looked a different horse to the one seen before. He ran well in defeat in an Alnwick maiden and followed that with two victories. When winning a maiden at Friars Haugh he stayed on strongly in the straight to draw clear after it looked like it might be a close battle at 2 out. He followed that up with victory in the Hunt Members beating Franks Fancy, who is now rated 116 over hurdles.
On his first start of the 2020/21 PTP season he ran well when second to Dream Over, who has since won a bumper at Carlisle. With the season suspended, his attentions were switched to racing under rules and they made the baffling decision to run a strong stayer over 2m4f at Musselburgh in a good novices' chase. Unsurprisingly, particularly having been held up, he couldn't get involved at any stage and finished tailed off.
When running in points, Matthew Man has been ridden handily and given the small field and longer trip, I'm hoping that they will return to using those tactics. He has raced a bit keenly at times but I think Loveyoutothemoon could front run so he can get a lead off her or, if that doesn't turn out to be the case and no one else wishes to lead, it would make sense for Conor O'Farrell to make the running and try to settle him in front.
If Loveyoutothemoon got back to the best of her form from the second half of the 2018/19 PTP season then she would have a fair chance of finishing second. However, she looked nothing like the same horse when returning from a 539-day break at Kimble and she dropped away very quickly after making the running at Plumpton last time over hurdles. The ground today, particularly if the further forecast rain comes, will also be softer than ideal for her.
This novices' chase might be a very dull event for most but the likely race for second is an interesting one to me and I think Matthew Man has the best chance of filling that position so he appeals at 11/8.