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Cruz hopes California Spangle can rebound in G1 Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup

March 8, 2024 at 3:50:19 AM

Tony Cruz is hopeful California Spangle can rediscover top form in the HK$13 million G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (10 March) as the gelding tackles Lucky Sweynesse, the world’s top-rated sprinter, in a defining clash.

Tony Cruz is hopeful California Spangle can rediscover top form in the HK$13 million G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (10 March) as the gelding tackles Lucky Sweynesse, the world’s top-rated sprinter, in a defining clash.

Winless in four starts since claiming the G2 Sha Tin Trophy Handicap (1600m) in October, California Spangle will be partnered by Brenton Avdulla – his fourth different jockey in five starts – from barrier three.

Set to face nine rivals, all assigned 126lb, California Spangle will chase his first top-level success since downing Golden Sixty by a neck in the 2022 G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (1600m) as Cruz contemplates a tilt at the G1 Al Quoz Sprint (1200m) in Dubai on 30 March.

“He’s entered for Dubai and we’ll decide whether we will go depending on how he performs on Sunday. We hope for a good result,” the dual champion Hong Kong trainer said.

To clash with Lucky Sweynesse, Beauty Eternal, Beauty Joy, Lucky With You, Healthy Happy, Taj Dragon, Son Pak Fu, Red Lion and Galaxy Patch, California Spangle faded to finish fourth in the G1 Stewards’ Cup (1600m) behind Voyage Bubble on 21 January.

With both Beauty Eternal and Beauty Joy finishing ahead of California Spangle in the Stewards’ Cup, Cruz hopes a solid barrier trial over 1200m on Sha Tin’s dirt track on 22 February will spark a return to form.

Previously successful in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup with Silent Witness (2005), Egyptian Ra (2009) and Beauty Flash (2011), Cruz will also be represented by Beauty Joy on Sunday.

Drawn in gate 10, Beauty Joy will be ridden by Derek Leung as he searches for his first win since June 2022, when he posted the fifth victory of an excellent second season in Hong Kong.

“Beauty Joy is very fit and we’re hoping he runs well, too,” Cruz said.

Leading the 2023/24 Hong Kong trainers’ championship with 49 wins, Pierre Ng will be double-handed in Sunday’s feature with Taj Dragon and Galaxy Patch.

To be ridden by Hugh Bowman from barrier one, Taj Dragon seeks his sixth win over the course and distance after a last-start seventh in the G1 Centenary Sprint Cup (1200m) behind Victor The Winner on 28 January.

“Taj Dragon has been working well. He had a good trial with Hugh Bowman on him and hopefully he can run a good, free race. Hopefully he can get in the top three – he’s running against the top horses in Hong Kong. Hopefully, he can do something and show what he is capable of,” Ng said.

Galaxy Patch starts from gate nine under Karis Teetan following last Sunday’s (3 March) fifth behind Nervous Witness over 1000m as Ng hopes the 99-rater can produce his best as he steps to 1400m for the first time.

“Last week, we ran him at 1000m and he seemed to be more settled and this week, he has the blinkers off and hopefully he can settle a bit more and we get a good run from him,” Ng said.

Sunday’s (10 March) 10-race card at Sha Tin starts with the Class 5 Hau Wong Handicap (1800m) at 1pm.

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