NAP of the Day: 7/4 about Exeter runner could prove a gift

 | January 30 | 

2 mins read

Owen McMahon's NAP of the Day

My eyes have been drawn to one at Exeter on Wednesday who could be extremely well-in off his current mark. He rates the NAP of the Day.

NAP of the Day

  • 14:10 Exeter - The Changing Man 7/4

I had to do a double take when I saw one firm go 3/1 about Joe Tizzard's The Changing Man for this novices' handicap chase over three miles.

The market has settled at around 7/4, which could still prove a bit of a gift about this seven-year-old son of Walk In The Park.

He was a progressive hurdler last season, rising from a mark of 102 to 132, and connections had high hopes - Cheltenham Festival aspirations even - about him as a chaser this term.

He looked well on his way to reaching such heights when a brilliant second at Exeter in November last year on his debut over fences, splitting Stay Away Fay and Grey Dawning for Paul Nicholls and Dan Skelton respectively, but things haven't quite gone to plan since.

At Sandown a month later, in the newly-founded G2 Esher Novices' Chase, he unseated rider Brendan Powell at the 17th fence before the field had really got racing and then he was very disappointing in the G2 Hampton Novices' Chase at Warwick earlier this month.

However, there are good excuses for that lacklustre performance. Firstly, the ground was plenty soft enough and secondly, it's generally accepted that Apple Away and Broadway Boy did far too much in front and The Changing Man, who was trying to keep up with them in the second half of the race, probably suffered the same fate.

If you accept that theory, his revised mark of 128 - four pounds lower - is very, very generous indeed. In fact, I'd go as far as saying it makes him one of the better handicapped chasers in the country.

Stay Away Fay is rated 159 after his brilliant third in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham on Trials Day and The Changing Man was just under two lengths off him - and one ahead of the 153-rated Grey Dawning - off level weights at Exeter back in November.

Sure, the aforementioned duo, who are both prominent in the antepost market for the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase at the Festival, have improved plenty since but even when you factor that in, you've got to think Wednesday's selection has plenty in hand.

A bit of faith is required that the horse is none-the-worse for those exploits at Warwick just 18 days ago, but if so he'll be extremely hard to beat in a race like this and back on better ground.

The Changing Man to win the 14.10 Exeter at 7/4

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