Only a handful of runners but a really informative race in prospect for the Prix La Force at ParisLongchamp on Thursday.
The vote going to the Christophe Ferland-trained Pao Alto.
The son of Intello is held in some regard and showed lots of potential in his juvenile campaign, finishing second first time up at Deauville and making no mistake next time out over 1600m at this track.
He went from there to land a Listed race at Bordeaux and was in line for a Group 1 engagement at Saint-Cloud before connections opted to err on the side of caution.
He is following a similar route to that of Shaman, who struck in this race 12 months ago – beating Sottsass – and has gone on to prove himself a top-class performer, a point evidenced earlier this week.
Ferland himself is highly capable when he gets a smart one – see his exploits with Dabirsim – and all concerned will know where they stand after this, with fellow French Derby prospects Another Sky, Ocean Atlantique and Mkfancy in opposition.
Raabihah can get her supporters off to a flying start with victory in the opener, the Prix de la Seine. The Jean-Claude Rouget-trained Sea The Stars filly made her debut on the all-weather at Cagnes-Sur-Mer in January and could hardly have been more impressive.
She took a step to her left on leaving the stalls, but was soon on the heels of the leaders and after being pushed along for a stride or two over a couple of furlongs out, she really picked up smartly.
This Listed affair presents another challenge, but the runner-up from that maiden, Dilala, who reopposes in this event, was a winner subsequently and there is every reason to expect Rouget’s charge might be above average.
Emoji shapes as yet another smart one on the card as she goes in the Prix Vanteaux, a Group 4 event over 1800m.
A winner in Germany on her racecourse bow, she was snapped up afterwards by the Team Valor operation and moved to Francis-Henri Graffard, immediately repaying her new connections with an all-the-way success in Listed company at Saint-Cloud.
That was over 1600m on heavy ground and the way she ran on very much suggests the extra distance will suit her even better.
Dariyza is the choice from two Alain de Royer-Dupre runners in the 2000m Prix Zarkava.
The Aga Khan-owned filly was last seen winning with plenty in hand over 200m shorter at this course in October, being stuck behind a wall of horses before picking up Wishfully and putting the race to bed within a matter of strides. Stablemate Dariyma is the obvious danger.
Arapaho looks the safest bet in the Prix du Pont Neuf, despite being beaten at odds on last time out.
There were no apparent excuses for the Andre Fabre-trained colt at Deauville in August, but he had looked good in two runs before that and can easily be given another chance. – Sportinglife.com