California Spangle (Starspangledbanner) winning the Gr.1 Silver Jubilee Cup at Sha Tin

Second G1 for California Spangle

The Group I Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday drew a quality field with Irish bred California Spangle (6g Starspangledbanner x Pearlita's Passion, by High Chaparral) claiming the prize under a clever front running ride by Aussie jockey Brenton Avdulla.

Trained by Tony Cruz, California Spangle was a last start fourth in the Group I Steward’s Cup in January, but had not won since taking out the Group II Sha Tin Trophy last October.

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.

Cruz had previously won the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup with Silent Witness (2005), Egyptian Ra (2009) and Beauty Flash (2011) and was thrilled for California Spangle to add his name to the list claiming his first win at the elite level since the 2022 G1 LONGINES 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 G1 Al Quoz Sprint (1200m) at Meydan Racecourse on 30 March.

California Spangle has the outstanding record of 12 wins and eight placings from 24 starts and is the best of five winners from Pearlita’s Passion, a half-sister by High Chaparral to Group II winner Shakespearean.

Starspangledbanner has a great strike rate with daughters of High Chaparral with 19 winners from 23 runners and three stakes-winners that also include his Group I winning 2YO The Wow Signal.

Starspangledbanner was back in Australia last spring and covered 116 mares at a fee of $33,000.