12:40 Nuit De Folie - 0.5pt EW (8/1 Bet 365, Betfair)
This is a race that I am keen to play in now that the early markets have been posted. Initially, I was looking to play ILLOGIQUE D’AINAY after he fell at the last when still in front in a similar contest here on 21st December. When pricing this race I expected him to be 9/2, so to see him open at 11/10 is a considerable over-reaction to that performance and gives this race a decent each-way shape. Although he was in front and he had the crucial place on the stands rail, he was beginning to tire and he was far from a 1.01 shot when he jumped the last and unseated Felix De Giles. The final circuit time for that race was -1.05s below the average, so he may also have been flattered by racing in mid-division away from the relatively strong pace. Aside from his last flight fall, his 2 previous starts weren’t overly inspiring and whilst he may continue to improve, he doesn’t leap off the page as an 11/10 shot.
The slightly unknown quantity is Planetarium, who is a 31.5 rated flat horse and has been running well on the all-weather at Chantilly and Deauville. He has tried hurdles once before, when 9th at Fontainebleau back in March and he will need to show a lot of improvement on that evidence. That is entirely possible, but he isn’t bred to handle the soft ground, something his flat form confirms and with the yard operating at just 6% in December (2-32), he looks an unlikely winner.
The majority of his rivals met in a 3-y-o hurdle here on the same day, a race won by Dame Eboshi in an almost identical time to the race that featured Illogique D’ainay. This was a relatively messy affair and as they jumped the 2nd last, the first 7 were covered by less than 5-lengths. The first 3 home kicked away after the last, but it is the also rans who feature prominently in today’s contest, with Intouch (8th), Authorizia (7th) and NUIT DE FOLIE (6th). The latter makes the most appeal as he raced down the centre of the home straight, which recent meetings have shown is not the place to be, but despite that disadvantage he made good late headway to snatch a 6th place finish in the final strides. This was a significant improvement on his debut performance, when he was given a relatively gentle ride to finish 8th on 6th December over this course and distance. He looks to be a project for the Fertillet team and after 2 educational runs, he could be ready to get his head in front at the 3rd time of asking. He makes a lot of appeal at around 8/1, especially in a race that looks to lack depth and even if he just matches the form of his run 11 days ago, that may well prove to be enough to hit the frame.