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California Spangle prepares for late season target at Sha Tin

May 23, 2024 at 4:20:26 AM

California Spangle could feature again this season after tuning up smartly in a barrier trial over 1200m at Sha Tin this morning (Tuesday, 21 May) in 1m 11.28s with Brenton Avdulla for trainer Tony Cruz.

California Spangle could feature again this season after tuning up smartly in a barrier trial over 1200m at Sha Tin this morning (Tuesday, 21 May) in 1m 11.28s with Brenton Avdulla for trainer Tony Cruz.

Breaking cleanly under the hands of Avdulla, the triple Group 1-winning California Spangle strode to the lead. Clicked up in the straight, the six-year-old crossed the line first, one and three quarter lengths ahead of Sing Dragon on the dirt.

“He’s ticking over well. He’s come through his run in good order. I’m happy with him – the track was a bit ordinary with all of the rain we have had, so it wasn’t ideal, but he still trialled well, pulled up clean and definitely needed another hit-out,” Avdulla said.

Potential targets for California Spangle are the HK$4.2 million G3 Sha Tin Vase Handicap (1200m) on 2 June and HK$4.2 million G3 Premier Cup Handicap (1400m) on 23 June – both races are run at Sha Tin.

“He’s obviously going to carry a big weight in whatever he contests. There’s the 1200 and 1400 (metre) race – both Group 3s. He’s probably going to get 135 pounds and give a lot of nice horses good weight, so I’ll leave that with Tony (Cruz) whichever way he goes and I’ll just be happy to sit on him,” Avdulla said.


California Spangle stretches out on the dirt.

Since reverting to sprint distances in March, California Spangle has won twice at the top-level, taking the HK$13 million G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) and G1 Al Quoz Sprint (1200m) at Meydan in Dubai.

The front-running 126-rater has won 13 times from 26 starts. He placed second behind Invincible Sage last time out in the HK$22 million G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m).

Avdulla also partnered Beauty Joy at this morning’s trial session, finishing third in 1m 12.57s over 1200m. The chestnut won the HK$5.35 million G2 Chairman’s Trophy (1600m) two runs back before finishing seventh in the HK$22 million G1 FWD Champions Mile (1600m).

“He’s come through the race in really good order. I’m happy with the way he trialled,” Avdulla said.

The Australian rider is aiming to build on his 30 wins this season in Hong Kong when he takes four mounts at Happy Valley tomorrow night (22 May), including last-start winner Atomic Beauty in the second section of the Class 4 Lancashire Handicap (1650m).

“He did a good job. He obviously won earlier in the season at big odds and he’d been sort of busting to win another one.

“He had things go his way there the other night – off a nice gallop he was able to track the leader and took over. He had a little bit of a look around but to his credit he knuckled down late and got the job done – I was happy with him,” Avdulla said.

Readying for a HK$13 million G1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) tilt, Straight Arron also trialled, finishing fourth in his heat over 1200m on the dirt in 1m 13.71s under Vincent Ho for trainer Caspar Fownes.

Fownes also saddles Senor Toba in the season’s 12th and final Group 1 contest.

Wednesday’s (22 May) nine-race fixture at Happy Valley commences at 6.40pm with the Class 5 Chester Handicap (2200m).

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