The R200 000 Gr2 Gold Bracelet to be run over 2000m at Greyville on Saturday has attracted a small but quality field, that includes the welcome presence of last year’s winner Beach Beauty. Dennis Drier’s sensational stick of Dynasty dynamite looks well weighted for a big showing.
This race forms a fairly straightforward looking final leg of the two major exotic bets on Super –Saturday, with the two well-performed four year olds Beach Beauty and Happy Archer crossing paths for only the third time in their careers. They have a few scores to settle with the tally at one apiece as we go into Saturday’s race.
The Australian-bred Happy Archer often suffers under the misconception of the ‘Greyville specialist’ tag, but this daughter of Dubawi can really run anywhere. She has recorded four of her six wins at Greyville and in fact recorded her biggest win here when downing Beach Beauty by 0,75 lengths in the 2011 Gr1 Garden Province Stakes run over a mile. That was sweet revenge for a 5,85 length defeat three weeks previously, when Beach Beauty scored a tremendous win in the Gr2 KRA Fillies Guineas at the same venue on very soft going, with Happy Archer going home empty-handed.
Happy Archer shed her maiden over 1000m and has never won, or even been tried over anything further than a mile. She is a dual Gr1 winner at this track and has shown the ability to make her own pace or run on late – whatever the particular race may require. This gives us the confidence that she may enjoy the 2000m on Saturday as a fast rising five year old and with Anton Marcus in the saddle, must be a big runner for top honours.
Beach Beauty is one of the best fillies around and has a full season of stiff feature competition behind her. She won this race last year and showed her well-being with a superb win in the Greyville 1900 when she had July forward sorts, Chesalon and Solo Traveller, well beaten.
Her run in the July when finishing a 4,75 lengths ninth off Pomodoro,when jumping from a 12 draw can hardly be labelled a disgrace. She did run very handy there through circumstances beyond her rider’s control, and that effort is best ignored.
If the handicapper has his sums correct, then she should win this race. But as we all know by now, races are not run in cyberspace or in dusty lever arch files. And it could still be tough for her.
Our value horse is the Highlands-bred daughter of Spectrum, Beloved Betty, who really is as game as they come, and has had a tough feature campaign in her last five career starts. She earned in all of the Umzimkulu, the Fillies Guineas, the Woolavington and then ran a cracking second 2,25 lengths off Tajmeel in the Oaks.
Beach Beauty’s rider Sean Cormack knows her well, so Felix Coetzee will have to draw on all his experience to down Beach Beauty, and the tactical tussle between the two could be an interesting side-show to the real competition here. Beloved Betty appears much better being allowed to run at the leaders late in the race, and if Coetzee can place her off a reasonable pace, she could prove better than rated.
Brett Crawford’s Frequent Flyer has not won in her three KZN Champion Season starts and besides an injury niggle or two along the way, she may well be a length or two short at this level. She did run a fair third 2,25 lengths off Princess Victoria in the Tibouchina, but finished tamely when unplaced in the Garden Province on July day. She has won up to 1700m at Listed level, but has never been tried this far. Her illustrious dam won up to 2000m though, and she may well enjoy the stamina test.
The grey three year old Ilha Bela was being touted as a potential Vodacom Durban July winner a month ago, but disappointingly never showed in Africa’s Greatest Horserace when finishing a not-disgraced six lengths behind Pomodoro. Prior to that she had won the SA Oaks at Turffontein in emphatic style by 6,25 lengths, but was then humbled by her stablemate Viva Maria in the Woolavington 2000 in her July prep run. She has no chance of finishing ahead of Beach Beauty on their July clash, and it is only consideration of the De Kock magic that suggests that we consider her and give her an outside chance.
The second of the De Kock runners is the Jacaranda winner Checceti who ran a highly meritorious fourth in the inaugural KZN Breeders 1600 when 3,10 lengths behind Knock On Wood. She ran a fair second beaten 0,75 lengths when giving Himlayan Hill 7,5kgs in Sunday’s Listed Off To Stud Handicap at Scottsville, and will be having her third run in the month of July if she lines up here.
Steady Does It
The Rock Of Gibraltar filly Europe To Africa, like other Ennion inmates, has shown a distinct liking for the KwaZulu-Natal region and she has run two good races after leaving the wintry climes of Cape Town behind her. She won an MR 80 Handicap over 1950m at Scottsville in the first week of June, and then ran on steadily from midfield when a 3,75 length third to Tajmeel in the Oaks. She would be rattling the handicapper’s cage were she to win this, but is game and talented enough to secure some petrol money for the long haul home in a few weeks.
Kom Naidoo’s Keep On Dreaming looks completely outclassed here and is an optimistic entry.
Sean Tarry and Happy Archer’s pilot Anton Marcus have had wonderful seasons in their individual disciplines and they will be looking to round it off on a high note.
We are siding with Happy Archer to beat our value horse Beloved Betty, with Beach Beauty running her usual sterling race into the places. In a small field the pace may be lacking and the assessment could be blown out of the water if it turns into a sprint for home.
That would not work for many of them and there are a few who won’t be shy to take the initiative and show the way.