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Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf: Purrfect chance for Kitten

Dank is favourite to become the first mare to land back-to-back successes in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita tonight (7.43pm), but Stephanie’s Kitten looks to hold leading claims of denying Sir Michael Stoute’s filly.

The Chad Brown trained five-year-old broke a five-race losing streak dating back 15 months when showing a smart turn of foot to land the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Stakes at Belmont Park last time out on her first try over 1m 2f.

However she could well have been coming into this contest on the back of a hat-trick, as things didn’t go to plan when she suffered narrow defeats in the Grade 1 Diana at Saratoga and Grade 1 Beverly D at Arlington Park.

The daughter of Kitten’s Joy finished runner-up in both, beaten just a 1/4 of a lenhth and 3/4 of a length respectively, after encountering all sorts of trouble in-running after being held-up well off the pace.

Those efforts suggest that the triple Grade 1 winner is a good as ever, and with stable companion Dayatthespa a confirmed front runner Stephanie’s Kitten should get the strong oace that she needs to be seen at her best.

Although not ideally drawn in stall 10, it should not be much of a hinderence given Stepehanie’s Kitten’s run-style, and granted a clear passage a huge run looks assured in the hands of John Velazquez.
Dank is the obvious danger judge on her comfortable success in this contest 12 months ago.

The five-year-old showed good tactical speed to race up with the pace before holding on to beat Romantica with more in hand than the 1/2 lengths margin suggests, and looked set for a big season this year when third to Just The Way in the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free at Metdan back in March.

However, the daughter of Dansili then suffered a foot injury when well beaten in the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot and has not been seen in action since.

Her trainer Sir Michael Stoute believes he has Dank back in top form ahead of what will be her final race, but I think this is a stronger renewal and her well-being has to be take on trust.

For me that is enough to take her on, and Stephenie’s Kitten looks the most likely one to expose any chinks in her armour.

The Charlie Hills trained Just The Judge is also worthy of consideration having refound her form with a vengeance.