Big plans for California Spangle
HONG KONG – Buoyed by a Happy Valley double on Wednesday night, trainer Tony Cruz is eagerly anticipating the return of his stable star California Spangle for a campaign-defining run in the Group 3 Celebration Cup Handicap at Sha Tin on Sept 25.
Cruz was elated at Circuit Elite’s effort in the Class 5 Tai Hang Handicap over 1,800m under Vincent Ho. His grey accelerated past his rivals near the 700m mark for a two-length victory.
Street Scream completed a double for the trainer under Matthew Chadwick in the Class 3 Chai Wan Handicap over 1,200m.
Delighted with Ho’s enterprising ride and Chadwick’s strength, Cruz quickly turned his attention to loftier targets with California Spangle, his BMW Hong Kong Derby (2,000m) runner-up and Hong Kong Classic Cup (1,800m) winner.
“Condition-wise, leading up to Sunday’s race, I’m very happy with everything California Spangle has done,” said Cruz. “He’s pretty tuned up for this race. It will be a small field and he shows a lot of speed and he’s going to do the same thing and go to the front again, and try and dictate the race.”
Cruz will use the Celebration Cup (1,400m) – the first Group race of the 2022/23 season – to formulate plans for California Spangle.
His horse emerged as one of Hong Kong’s most exciting talents for the 2021/22 season, with four wins and four seconds from eight starts. He rose from 69 to 111 in the handicap.
“After this race on Sunday, I will talk with Zac (Purton) about whether we go longer in distance or shorter in distance.”
While looking at the Group 2 Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy Handicap (1,600m) on Oct 16 and the Group 2 Premier Bowl Handicap (1,200m) on Oct 23, Cruz’s bigger dream is the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1,200m) or the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Mile (1,600m) at Sha Tin on Dec 11. - HKJC