California Spangle Passes Test in HK Classic Cup


California Spangle | HKJC photo


by Alan Carasso

The jury was very much out on California Spangle (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) going into Sunday's HK$12-million Hong Kong Classic Cup as to whether the speedy 4-year-old would be suited by an 1800-metre trip after just failing to see out the Hong Kong Classic Mile a month ago, albeit from a miserable draw. It took less than 107 seconds to deliver the verdict, as the joint-highest galloper in the field took command at once from a middle barrier and proved not for catching.

Away without incident from gate six, California Spangle was soon in front and was tracked by Money Catcher (NZ) (Ferlax {NZ}) as they went a decent gallop up front. Switched off nicely for Zac Purton, California Spangle lobbed along traveling very comfortably on the turn and was held together as the field turned into the straight. Felt for with about 300 metres to travel, California Spangle maintained a good margin and was kept busy through the line. Turin Redstar (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), a running-on fourth in the Classic Mile, weaved his way through and outfinished Money Catcher for second, while the previously unbeaten Romantic Warrior (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}) could never get on the track, but finished very well to be fourth in a useful Derby trial.

It was a first Classic Cup win for Purton, who has won nearly everything else there is to win in Hong Kong.

“It's nice to get it [Classic Cup] on the board and on such a special horse as well,” the Australian said. “From the first time I sat on him, I could feel how much quality he had and this might not be his proper distance but because he's so good–against his own age group–he's been able to do it today. Of course, I was worried the last 200m. He was out on his feet and it was a good effort.”

And with that, it's on to the BMW Hong Kong Derby Mar. 20, the 10-furlong trip remaining a query.

“We always had confidence this horse would run the distance because his dam is by High Chaparral, a stayer who won the Irish Derby,” said trainer Tony Cruz, a four-time Derby winner as a jockey and twice as a trainer. “I'm sure he's got that sort of pedigree in him and I believe he will get the distance.

He continued, “I believe he will wait in front and I believe he will run out the distance. The plan from day one was that this horse–even though he's a real sprinter–was to wait for the straight, wait for the opposition to come and then you make a move. He was under control for the whole race.”

Pedigree Notes:

The 23rd worldwide stakes winner for his sire, California Spangle is a half-brother to Wychwood Warrior, thrice stakes placed at distances up to a mile and is one of five winners from six to race out of a half-sister to Shakespearean (Ire) (Giant's Causeway), winner of the G2 Hungerford S. and G3 Solario S. going seven furlongs. Third dam Basilea was responsible for Pont-Aven (Ire) (Try My Best), a Group 3 winner over five and placed in the G1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches who went on to produce the likes of multiple group winner Josr Algarhound (Ire) (Darshaan {GB}), as well as the stakes-winning and multiple group-placed Traou Mad (Ire) (Barathea {Ire}) and Cap Coz (Ire) (Indian Ridge {Ire}). Pearlitas Passion's most recent listed produce is the 2-year-old filly Alchimia (Ire) (Fast Company {Ire}).

Sunday, Sha Tin, Hong Kong
HONG KONG CLASSIC CUP-LR, HK$12,000,000 (£1,152,151/€1,379,577/A$2,157,904/US$1,536,956), 4yo, 1800mT, 1:46.98, gd.
1–CALIFORNIA SPANGLE (IRE), 126, g, 4, by Starspangledbanner (Aus)
1st Dam: Pearlitas Passion (Ire), by High Chaparral (Ire)
2nd Dam: Paimpolaise (Ire), by Priolo
3rd Dam: Basilea (Fr), by Frere Basile (Fr)
1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN. (€150,000 Ylg '19 GOFORB). O-Howard Liang Yum Shing; B-M Enright; T-Tony Cruz A S; J-Zac Purton; HK$6,840,000. Lifetime Record: 8-6-2-0, HK$15,425,300. *1/2 to Wychwood Warrior (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}), MSP-Ire, SP-UAE.
2–Turin Redstar (GB), 126, g, 4, Dubawi (Ire)–Irish Rookie (Ire), by Azamour (Ire). O-Tsoi Yuk Ham, Sheldon Tse Hiu Tung & Ken Huang Jian Hua; B-Haras de Saint Pair; T-Douglas Whyte; J-Alexis Badel; HK$2,640,000.
3–Money Catcher (NZ), 126, g, 4, Ferlax (NZ)–Warren's Sister (NZ), by Savabeel (Aus). (NZ$13,000 Wlg '18 NZBMAY; NZ$60,000 2yo '19 NZBRTR). O-The Sunflower Syndicate; B-Haunui Bloodstock Ltd; T-Frankie Lor F C; J-Derek Leung K C; HK$1,380,000.
Margins: 1, 1, HF. Odds: 9-10, 20-1, 61-1.
Also Ran: Romantic Warrior (Ire), Senor Toba (Aus), The Irishman (NZ), Ima Single Man (Aus), Nordic Sky (Brz), Rocket Spade (Aus), Mr Ascendancy (Ire), Gorytus (Ire), Intrepid Winner (Aus), Hit The Shot(Aus), Fa Fa (NZ). Click for the chart, PPs and sectional timing. VIDEO.


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