top of page
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • YouTube

California Spangle wins G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup for Avdulla and Cruz

March 11, 2024 at 4:43:35 AM

Tony Cruz dedicated California Spangle’s victory in the HK$13 million G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (13 March) to late owner Howard Liang, while praising Brenton Avdulla’s “perfect” ride on the stable flagbearer.

Tony Cruz dedicated California Spangle’s victory in the HK$13 million G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (13 March) to late owner Howard Liang, while praising Brenton Avdulla’s “perfect” ride on the stable flagbearer.

Unplaced at his previous four runs, California Spangle reprised his best form under Avdulla, who claimed his first Hong Kong Group 1 with a brilliant front-running ride to beat a charging Galaxy Patch by a length. Red Lion was third, a nose further away.

Allowed to saunter through the first 600m in 36.26s, California Spangle gradually upped the tempo in covering the final 800m in 45.92s to have his main rivals, including Beauty Eternal (fourth) and Lucky Sweynesse (fifth), chasing from the home turn.

Challenged late by Galaxy Patch, who had to change course under Karis Teetan to gain a clear run before accelerating powerfully, California Spangle was never under serious threat, while Lucky Sweynesse was taken to the tail of the field by James McDonald before fanning four-wide on straightening to finish one and a half lengths behind the winner.

Cruz, who previously won the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup with Silent Witness (2005), Egyptian Ra (2009) and Beauty Flash (2011), jubilated in California Spangle’s redemptive triumph – his first at the elite level since the 2022 G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (1600m).

“It (victory) means everything, this horse was very important to the late Howard Liang. He bought the horse and I’m so glad he has won another Group 1. He is the best horse Howard raced and the exciting part of today is that California Spangle had to perform to go to Dubai – and now he’s heading to Dubai and everybody is thrilled about it,” Cruz said.

“He had the perfect race today. I think Brenton rode a perfect race. He did exactly what I expected him to do. I’m so happy about that. We’re going to Dubai now and Brenton is going to ride him in Dubai.”

Cruz has been invited to run California Spangle in the G1 Al Quoz Sprint (1200m) at Meydan Racecourse on 30 March.

Avdulla, who boasts 13 Group 1 victories in Australia, exulted in his most significant Hong Kong win.

“I was able to get a controlled gallop. Probably on the ground everyone was a fraction reserved, but he just enjoyed it,” Avdulla said, referring to the steady rain which fell during the meeting.

“He galloped along at a nice tempo and he gave a good kick for me.

“I came here in May with an expectation of probably doing 10 weeks and go home. Even though I only had the three winners, I started to build a bit of relations at the end (of last season) and really enjoyed the racing and spending time with my family.

“I was confident that given an opportunity that I could succeed here. I rode a winner for Tony at the beginning of the season and then I was quiet for a bit. But, then I had a four-timer and Group 2 win for John (Size).

“All the hard work pays off and like anything, with an opportunity, I always thought I was good enough to capitalise and today shows that.”

Avdulla and Cruz shared a double with the earlier success of Smart Beauty.

Pierre Ng reached the 50-win milestone when Aeroinvincible won the second section of the Class 4 Lung Kong Handicap (1400m) for Andrea Atzeni. The victory ended a 31-run of outs for the sechnd-season handler who leads the trainers’ championship by 12 wins from Francis Lui (39) and Ricky Yiu (37) after sealing a double with Frantanck’s tenacious win in the Class 3 Tak Ku Ling Handicap (1600m) under Angus Chung.

“I thought there was a bit of pressure to get on 50 (wins) and it took me a little while to get up there. Hopefully we’ll hit the next stage at 60,” Ng said. “Winning matters in Hong Kong. Sometimes you need a couple of runs for the horses and go again.”

Two Hong Kong International Sale (HKIS) graduates posted wins – Smart Beauty and Patch Of Theta – only six days out from the 2024 HKIS Sale at Sha Tin on Friday night (15 March).

Patch Of Theta added his first win to four minor placings at only his fifth start for Francis Lui and Hugh Bowman in the first section of the Class 4 Lung Kong Handicap (1400m). Lui continued a strong season with a brace after striking with Baby Crystal in the Class 3 Nga Tsin Wai Handicap (1000m) under Andrea Atzeni.

Avdulla’s ground-saving ride on Smart Beauty saw the gelding land the Class 5 Hau Wong Handicap (1800m) for Cruz before Ricky Yiu-trained Bowser clinched the Class 4 Junction Handicap by a nose over Lucky Symphony in a desperately tight finish under Antoine Hamelin.

The trend of close finishes continued with Solid Impact’s short-head victory for David Hall in the Class 3 Nam Kok Handicap (1200m) under Alexis Badel. Hall snared a double with Star Club’s success in the Class 4 Lok Sin Tong Cup Handicap (1200m) for Zac Purton.

Badel also slotted a double with the success of Frankie Lor’s Happy Together in the Class 2 South Wall Handicap (1800m).

Hong Kong racing continues at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (13 March).

bottom of page