Hong Kong's Spangle breaks Dubai Drought

Hong Kong's dry spell in Dubai came to a resounding halt over the weekend, as California Spangle, the sole contender to topple the world's highest-earning thoroughbred Golden Sixty in recent years, triumphed in the Al Quoz Sprint, setting a new track record in the process.

After a decade since Amber Sky's victory in the Al Quoz Sprint and Sterling City's domination in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, Tony Cruz's California Spangle soared to victory at Meydan with a masterful ride by Brenton Avdulla.

Executing a flawless start, Avdulla strategically guided California Spangle to his customary forward position, conserving energy as Ponntos set a brisk pace ahead. The anticipated pressure failed to materialize, playing into California Spangle's strengths.

Seizing the lead at the 400-meter mark, the six-year-old surged ahead, fending off the late challenge from three-year-old filly Star Of Mystery, ridden by Frankie Dettori, to secure victory by three-quarters of a length. Diligent Harry finished a further three-quarters of a length behind in third place.

California Spangle clocked a remarkable 1:07.50, surpassing the previous 1200-meter track record set by Wildman Jack in the 2020 G3 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint.

While the spotlight rightfully shone on the triumphant California Spangle, questions lingered about Golden Sixty's absence from the global stage due to pandemic restrictions, underscoring the significance of international representation for Hong Kong racing.

Reflecting on the victory, trainer Tony Cruz expressed confidence in California Spangle's capabilities, dedicating the win to the late Howard Liang, a pivotal figure in the "California family" of horses. Cruz hinted at future sprint races in Hong Kong and left the door open for a potential appearance at Royal Ascot.

Owner representative Chester Liang echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the personal significance of the win and honoring his father's fondness for the horse.

Image DRC

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