Due to heavy rain the racemeeting rescheduled to Friday night, 13 May 2011.
Gr2 KRA Fillies Guineas at Greyville, Friday
With representations from all three of the major centres, the Natal Fillies Guineas is a stage on which the best females of the 3yo generation usually emerge. Twelve go to post this time and although it doesn’t look to be a vintage field, there are a few who have the potential to follow in the footsteps of the legendary Ipi Tombe who won this race back in 2002, writes Steve Furnish
The Captain Al filly Emerald Cove tops the official handicapper’s ratings and nine points clear of the nearest of her eleven rivals on their reckoning, many will see her as a good thing here.
Justin Snaith’s charge progressed rapidly towards the back end of last season and wound up a very promising first campaign with victory in the Irridescence Stakes. As did all other than Igugu, Emerald Cove was unable to get in a blow when behind her stable companion Ebony Flyer in both the Fillies Championship and Fillies Guineas during the recent Cape season, but she did then show considerable improvement when in her first try over 1800m she won the prestigious Gr1 Paddock Stakes. Always handy in that event, Emerald Cove ran on stoutly at the business end of the race and with the benefit of first run, she beat the faster finishing Gr1 Summer Cup winner Flirtation. She was beaten fair and square in her only subsequent start in the Gr1 Majorca Stakes over today’s distance, but then the opposition in that event was much stronger than what she faces here. Emerald Cove doesn’t have the best of the draw here, but if all is well after her three month break, she looks sure to be involved.
The only coupling in the race is that of Dennis Drier, and with his runners amazingly drawn in gates one, two and three, they shouldn’t have any problem finding position. The highest rated of Dennis’ three contenders is the up and coming Beach Beauty. This daughter of Dynasty has shown good improvement with each outing and a winner of four of her five starts has clearly done nothing wrong. Her only defeat came in just her second career start where racing in graduation company over 1200m she was beaten by Romantic Moon who went on to win her next three starts. Beach Beauty was given a break after winning her next outing in December and since her return she has really taken off. Indeed, after showing a nice turn of foot to win in graduation company over 1450m in March, she beat four of today’s rivals in impressive fashion when landing the Gr3 Umzimkhulu Stakes last time out. Beach Beauty has her third run after the rest here and the manner in which she has skated clear in each of her last two starts would suggest that the extra 200m will not be a problem. She could be anything and drawn well in gate three, I expect her to at least fight it out.
After showing promise early in her first season, the speedy Miss Zummerudd has come to hand nicely in recent starts. Usually one to race from the front, Miss Zummerudd has a good draw and although she is yet to win here, the circuit should suit. She has been beaten very comfortably by Beach Beauty in each of her last two outings though and now worse off at the weights with her stable companion, she clearly has a very stiff task.
Lightly raced since shedding her maiden tag over today’s distance in just her second career outing, Silent Nights has shown flashes of ability and is probably a little better than her current rating would suggest. She won particularly well when beating the useful Casey Da Lady in handicap company over 1400m in her penultimate start, but she did then find the heat too hot when easily beaten after holding every chance by Beach Beauty.
The busiest of the twelve in terms of outings is Carey’s Qui. At her best from the front, Alec Laird’s charge is usually seen out over shorter and is yet to win over further than 1450m. Carey’s Qui faded badly after making the running in her latest start over today’s distance when taking on the very talented Dancewiththedevil in the Acacia Handicap, but it is worth noting that she did finish third to Hollywoodboulevard in the Gauteng Fillies Mile in her only other outing over 1600m. She’s drawn widest of the twelve here and that has to count against her. The circuit should suit though and if able to get position early, she could hold on to make the frame.
After running on nicely to take fourth over 1000m, Sean Tarry’s charge won three in a row and wound up a tremendous first season with victory in the prestigious Gr1 Thekwini Stakes over 1600m. As with a number of her stable companions though, Happy Archer battled to find her form after returning from a lengthy break in November, but she did then suddenly reproduce some of that earlier ability when winning in progress company over 1450m at Turffontein last time out. Previously rated eight points higher by the official handicapper than she is today, Happy Archer would undoubtedly be a serious runner if finding her very best form and it is worth noting that she is unbeaten in three starts at this circuit.
The dark horse of the race is undoubtedly Mike De Kock’s only runner in the field Berry Blaze. Behind at weight for age, this daughter of Danehill Dancer has done very little wrong. She impressed when running on from well off the pace to win her maiden at the first time of asking and did then have excuses when beaten by some moderate handicappers next time out. She lost three lengths at the start when along with the others she was trounced by her stable companion Igugu in the Fillies Classic in her penultimate start, but she did nonetheless catch the eye staying on gamely in that event. She ran on strongly when winning over 1400m here in her latest outing and is sure to be even better now back over 1600m. Berry Blaze is clearly going the right way and has enormous scope for further improvement. A serious runner.
When you consider that Legal Account has finished close up in a number of feature races, it is amazing that she has only managed to win one race and that was her maiden over 1000m on debut. This daughter of Lake Coniston runs on stoutly on her day and should be at her peak having already had three runs after a short break. She was easily beaten by four, by the promising Beach Beauty in the Umzimkhulu though, and now 4kg worse off at the weights with that one, she is not easy to fancy.
The Tamburlaine filly Sauna’s Rose is as consistent as they come and she has done well over today’s course and distance. She would look to hold some kind of a chance now 5kg better off with Berry Blaze for just a 2,5 lengths beating last time out, but the manner in which that one flew past her at the business end of the race, would suggest that she is unlikely to turn the tables.
Paul Peter’s charge came to the track with a big reputation and after winning her first two outings in very good style it did indeed look as if she might be going places. She was far from disgraced when racing in good company against older horses in her next two starts, but as with her run behind Berry Blaze on her return from a three month break last time out, she was beaten after holding every chance. Enchanted Kingdom may well have needed that latest outing though, and her inclusion here would suggest that she is still highly thought of.
After finding good betting support in each of her first two outings, Imperial Image did then do the business in good style after being backed into even money from 22/10 when returning from a short break in March. In all honesty she didn’t beat the strongest of fields in the maiden ranks that day, but her only subsequent outing when third to Beach Beauty in the Umzimkhulu was a very good one taking everything into account. She has her third run after the rest here, and interestingly, log leader Anthony Delpech jumps into the saddle.
Anthony Delpech regularly rides for Kom Naidoo and now deserting Zire Special in favour of another runner in the race, one would normally have doubts as to this one’s chances. She has run on strongly to win two of her four outings though and with the current champion jockey Anton Marcus having been booked to ride, it would suggest that further improvement is expected.
About The Pace
The pace is usually on over 1600m at this sharp circuit and with both Miss Zummerudd and Carey’s Qui in the race that should certainly be the case again here. A strong pace will suit those running on and the two I like best, Beach Beauty and Berry Blaze, do both fit the bill. Beach Beauty has been particularly impressive in winning each of her last two starts and she does top Sporting Post’s ratings. She gets the vote.