Beach Beauty was a convincing winner of the Gr 2 Gold Bracelet a year ago and she will be a warm order to score a repeat victory when she contests this 2000m event at Greyville on Saturday.
Dennis Drier's charge has established herself as one of the best of her sex in the country and was most impressive when lugging a big weight to victory against male opposition in the Betting World 1900 two runs back. She was quietly fancied to make a splash in the Vodacom Durban July thereafter, but she never had a realistic chance at the weights in that field and the situation was exacerbated by an awkward draw. In the circumstances, she didn't run the worst race when finishing ninth, beaten less than five lengths by Pomodoro, and she faces a much easier task here. If she's anywhere near her best, she is going to be very hard to beat indeed.
In terms of proven class, Happy Archer is the only runner in this field who is in the same league as Beach Beauty. In fact, she's technically the more accomplished of the two, having won two Gr 1 races in the form of the Thekwini Stakes and last year's Garden Province Stakes, where she held off Beach Beauty's late run for a well-judged win. The concern has to be the distance: Happy Archer has great form over a mile but the extra two furlongs here represents unknown territory. Her pedigree doesn't offer that much encouragement either, as sire Dubawi was an accomplished specialist miler himself. Her sheer class means that she should see off everything else in the field, but Beach Beauty would appear to have her measure over this trip. With only seven runners in the field, though, there is no much chance of a true-run ten furlongs and if it turns into a sprint down the short Greyville straight, then Happy Archer could well topple the favourite. Beach Beauty's connections will be wary of this factor, given that she was notoriously beaten by the Cape crawl in the Victress Stakes and Paddock Stakes during the summer.
Checcetti has regained form this season and was finishing strongly when second in the listed Off To Stud Handicap over 1800m on Sunday. If this race isn't too soon for her, she has a sound quartet chance, as she has been taking on some competitive opposition without disgracing herself.
Beloved Betty deserves a win after placing in all of the KRA Fillies Guineas, Woolavington 2000 and Gold Circle Oaks. However, she's up against two crack older fillies here, representing an even stiffer test than what she's been exposed to thus far, and she also looks set for the placings at best.
Frequent Flyer has run some fine races in defeat this season against such top opposition as Princess Victoria and Ebony Flyer. On that form, she's not too far behind the Big Two here, but it's hard to see her getting beyond a minor placing over this longer trip, as she has also been showing her best over shorter.
Europe To Africa is improving and was a fair third in the Gold Circle Oaks but while she was beaten by two decent fillies in Tajmeel and Beloved Betty, the rest of that field did not offer much in the way of depth and she will have to do even more to get in a blow here.
Keep On Dreaming is - without meaning to be unkind - aptly named in this case, as she is by some way the rank outsider of this field on current form.