Longchamp preview: Emoji can put a smile on punters’ faces in Prix Vanteaux

14th September 2021

2020 Prix Vanteaux preview from Longchamp

Emoji puts her unbeaten record on the line at Longchamp this Thursday in the Group 3 Prix Vanteaux (11:10).

Trained by Francis-Henri Graffard, this filly by Solider Hollow has progressed since leaving Germany.

After bolting up by 14 lengths in a Baden-Baden maiden, Emoji changed owners. She moved to France to the stable of last year’s Prix de Diane winning trainer Graffard.

If Emoji is to prove herself a Classic contender, then she needs to follow up in this 9f Group 3 trial.

Her French debut at Saint-Cloud over a mile in March at Listed level saw her score by a couple of lengths.

Both the runner-up, Galova, and fifth filly home, Leilani, re-oppose. Emoji was too good for them that day, so there’s no reason why she won’t confirm form.

In-form jockey Pierre-Charles Boudot takes the ride again. That is an obvious plus and the extra furlong of the Prix Vanteaux should suit.

That is why bookmakers have Emoji as market leader here. She is less exposed than second-favourite Flighty Lady, for all that rival has placed at Group 1 level.

If Emoji is to live up to the expectations of her connections, then she has to be winning this. Odds of 11/8 with William Hill say she will do just that.

Flighty Lady, meanwhile, has shaped like the step up in trip should her too. A running on third behind both Savarin and Albigna in juvenile group races last year, she must be feared.

Jean-Claude Rouget’s charge is 15/8 with Paddy Power to resume winning ways. The remainder are double figure prices, so on paper it just concerns Flighty Lady and Emoji.

Trappy Prix La Force renewal a race to watch

The other Classic trial on the card is the Prix La Force, also a Group over 9f but for colts (and geldings).

You can make cases for most of the six runners with each having their pros and cons. Ocean Atlantique represents Coolmore trio Magnier, Smith and Tabor, but trainer Andre Fabre’s stable form isn’t good at the moment.

It could be that this well-bred son of American Pharoah needs this run on Prix Vanteaux day Ocean Atlantique bolted up by eight lengths at Saint-Cloud and broke the maiden tag under a hands and heels ride.

Beaten a length on debut at the same venue, the winner has scored since. Ocean Atlantique has a big reputation, given his powerful connections, but the Prix La Force is a hot race.

Caution is advised before piling into odds of 9/4 with Betway. Punters should check if the Fabre runners are going better than earlier in the week.

Pao Alto broke his maiden tag here at Longchamp last season, meanwhile. Prior to that, he tried to give Hopeful a 6lb claim at Deauville and was only beaten half-a-length.

The winner has since chased home Ecrivain who ran well here earlier in the week. Hopeful also landed a Group 3 contest next time up, so the form looks good.

Pao Alto plenty to advertise himself with a ready Listed success in the Grand Criterium de Bordeaux. He gave 4lb to the second and third home, and won by 4 1/2 lengths.

Christophe Ferland’s son of Intello is bred for a trip like this. Pao Alto also has claims, then, at 11/4 with Betfred, in the Prix La Force.

Mkfancy won a Group 1 at Saint-Cloud as a juvenile over 1m 2f, so can’t be discounted either at 3/1 with BetVictor here.

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