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Breeders’ Cup Distaff: Sophia can swoop to success

The absence of last year’s winner Beholder gives tonight’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita (11.35) a wide open look, and Don’t Tell Sophia looks value to turn over some better fancied rivals in a race which should be run to suit.

The Philip Sims trained six-year-old has been in the form of her life this year, winning four of her five starts.

The sole defeat came in a Grade 2 contest at Oaklawn Park where the mare was beaten 1 3/4 length into third behind Close Hatches, but she comperehensively beat that rival last time out when producing a career-best effort to land the Grade 1 Spinster Stakes at Keeneland.

That race was run at a blistering early pace, and Don’t Tell Sophia capitalised to come from way off the pace under a well-timed ride and win going away readily by 2 1/2 lengths from Ria Antonia.

Dont Tell Sophia produced one of her best ever speed figures in that contest, and there is every chance that this race could also turn into a burn-up up front which will set it up perfectly for a closer like her.

Belle Gallantey, Close Hatches and Tiz Midnight all like to force the pace, and they could well end up cutting each others throats.

If they do then it will play right into the hands of Don’t Tell Sophia, who having been bought for just $1,000 as a yearling has earned close to $1 million coming into this.

The daughter of Congaree is also a really consistent sort who has been in the money in her last 13 races, and at the odds on offer looks excellent each-way value.

Close Hatches is a very smart filly who is going to be a big player in bouncing back from a poor effort last time out behind Don’t Tell Sophia when sent off the 1/5 favourite, but the biggest danger to the selection could well be Untapable.

The Steve Asmussen trained three-year-old is considered by many to be the best filly in the country, and is a three-time Grade 1 winner who has amassed earning of over $1.7 million this year.

The daughter of Tapit likes to stalk the pace and be produced late, and if getting the breaks is sure to be bang there at the finish.