NICCI GARNER: TRAINER Dennis Drier is having one of his best seasons and Beach Beauty can give him another Graded-race win when she lines up in the Gold Bracelet at Greyville.
This season Drier has won races at the top level with horses like Potent Power, Bambina Stripes, now-retired Val De Ra and Beach Beauty, who won this race last year and more recently took the honours in the Greyville 1900 in May.
The Dynasty filly has a touch of class and was scoring her seventh career win when accelerating smartly to get up and beat Champions Cup contender Master Plan by 1.50 lengths in the G2 Greyville 1900.
Although never in contention in either the J&B Met or the Vodacom Durban July this year she was not disgraced in either and this race against her own sex is more her game. After all, her better efforts include a close-up second to Thunder Dance in the Paddock Stakes over the Kenilworth 1800m and a versatile second to Princess Victoria in the Poinsettia Stakes over 1200m.
She has at least two lengths in hand over her rivals at these weight-for-age conditions, is well drawn and should score the Gold Bracelet double.
Her trainer says she took her run in the Durban July “very well” and says he is expecting her to run a big race. “She took a bad bump just before they turned for home (in the July) and never really got going in the straight,” he said. “It was always going to be hard for her being such a small filly with that weight and then with a bump it was race over at the top of the straight. She is very well right now and is a huge runner.”
Frequent Flyer from the Brett Crawford stable travels beyond 1700m for the first time and there is a possibility that she will not stay in this class. However, she is a smart and consistent individual who can never be written off and the fact that there is no natural pacemaker in the race could play right into her hands.
Glen Kotzen’s charge Beloved Betty is 2.5kg worse off with Frequent Flyer for a two-length beating in the 1700m Jamaica Handicap in January, but would have made four lengths weight-for-age improvement in the interim. The Glen Kotzen-trained three-year-old seems to have more stamina than her rival and must also be included in Trifectas and Quartets.
Happy Archer is another talented runner who has not raced beyond 1600m before but if the Sean Tarry-trained Dubawi filly sees out the distance in what could be a slow-run race she will make her presence felt.
She had Frequent Flyer behind her when they finished third and seventh respectively in the 1600m Garden Province Stakes, but when they met in a 1450m race at Clairwood in May she finished 0.75 lengths behind her rival. They meet at the same weights and it is impossible to judge how they will fare this time.
Of the other three runners Mike de Kock-trained Checcetti might be best. She ran a promising second to Himalayan Hill over 1800m last Sunday and providing this race does not come too soon, she looks another runner who can make the frame.