Beach Beauty booked her ticket to the Korean Racing Association Fillies Guineas next month when she ran out an emphatic winner of that classic’s one genuine lead-up race, the Independent On Saturday Umzimkhulu Stakes over 1400m at Scottsville (standside course) on Saturday, writes Matthew Lips.
Only seven rivals (two of them her own stable companions) opposed Beach Beauty in this conditions event for three-year-old fillies and Beach Beauty went off as the 17/10 favourite. Only beaten once from four previous engagements, Dennis Drier’s filly was a popular choice here after she returned from a three month absence to easily win a Clairwood graduation plate from a wide draw in March. Legal Account looked to be favourably weighted on merit ratings and was the 3/1 second favourite ahead of Beach Beauty’s stable companion Silent Nights, who went off as a 9/2 chance.
It was the third of the Drier entries Miss Zummerudd who ensured a decent pace from the start, showing the way a couple of lengths ahead of Honolulu and Imperial Image, with Lunar Lee and Legal Account next in line as Beach Beauty was held up towards the rear. Solitary Gauteng visitor Chances Are raced at the back of the pack as Miss Zummerudd continued to blaze away until deep into the straight. The pacesetter is nothing if not game and had finished 1.25 lengths second behind Beach Beauty at Clairwood the previous month, but she again proved to be little match for her stablemate once the chips were down.
Beach Beauty began to make rapid progress from 300m out, quickening well and drawing right away under the last 100m under Alec Forbes to eventually beat the gallant Miss Zummerudd by three lengths despite facing the runner-up on 1 kg worse terms than would have been the case in a handicap. Imperial Image was always prominent and pestered Miss Zummerudd for the lead all the way down the straight, but she could never quite get the better of the argument and finished three-quarters of a length further away in third. Legal Account didn’t really quicken when push came to shove and finished half-a-length behind Imperial Image in fourth, while Silent Nights never got into the race and was beaten a total of five lengths into fifth spot.
Beach Beauty ran some way above her 89 merit rating here and arguably showed ability that puts her somewhere in the mid-90s on the handicap scale. That wouldn’t be enough to put her in the same league as a fully fit Ebony Flyer in the Fillies Guineas on May 8th should Justin Snaith’s star go for that race, but Beach Beauty could be even better than a mid-90s mark. She looks to still be improving, and her style of racing hints strongly that she could relish every bit of 1600m, a distance over which she has yet to race. She has at least more than earned the right to contest the Fillies Guineas, and a first four finish there seems a more than feasible target.
Beach Beauty is a daughter of very good young sire Dynasty out of the Capture Him mare Sun Coast, who won three races over 1400m. Bred by Trevor Armitage and never offered on a sale, Beach Beauty has won four times from five starts for earnings of R217 100.
Umzimkhulu S. (SAf-G3) (4/9)Scottsville, South Africa, April 9, R138.000, 1400m, turf, good, 1.25.85 (CR 1.22.39). BEACH BEAUTY (SAF), 58.0, b f 3, Dynasty (SAF) – Sun Coast (SAF) by Capture Him. Owner Shanks Syndicate; breeder T Armitage (SAF); trainer D R Drier; jockey A Forbes (R91.500) Miss Zummerudd (SAF), 56.0, b f 3, King Of Kings (IRE) – Countess Of Ozz (AUS) by Sri Pekan Imperial Image (SAF), 54.0, ch f 3, King Of Kings (IRE) – Kamala (SAF) by Kamakura (GB) Margins: 3, ¾, ½ Also ran: Legal Account (SAF) 54.0, Silent Nights (AUS) 56.0, Chances Are (SAF) 54.0, Lunar Lee (SAF) 56.0, Honolulu (SAF) 54.0