A Spangle In The Works

Happy Valley first due off @ 12h40 on Wednesday

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

California Spangle in trials

California Spangle hits the line (Pic – HKJC)

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 Gr3 Sha Tin Vase Handicap on 2 June and HK$4.2 million Gr3 Premier Cup Handicap 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 1200m and 1400m 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.

Since reverting to sprint distances in March, California Spangle has won twice at the top-level, taking the HK$13 million Gr1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup and Gr1 Al Quoz Sprint 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 Gr1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize.

Avdulla also partnered Beauty Joy at Tuesday’s trial session, finishing third in 1m 12.57s over 1200m. The chestnut won the HK$5.35 million Gr2 Chairman’s Trophy two runs back before finishing seventh in the HK$22 million Gr1 FWD Champions Mile.

“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 on Wednesday, including last-start winner Atomic Beauty in the second section of the Class 4 Lancashire Handicap.

“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 day – 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 Gr1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup 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 nine-race fixture at Happy Valley commences at 12h40 with the Class 5 Chester Handicap.

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