California Spangle wins Group 1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup

California Spangle
California Spangle wins his second Group 1.

Tony Cruz dedicated California Spangle’s victory in the HK$13 million Group 1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday 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.

2024 Group 1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup Replay – California Spangle

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 Group 1 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 Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint (1200m) at Meydan Racecourse on March 30.

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.”

Horse racing news

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments