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California Spangle Digs Deep to win the Chairmans Trophy G2

Zac Purton lifted California Spangle off the canvas to win the Group Two Chairman’s Trophy (1,600m) and complete a feature-race double at Sha Tin on Sunday.

After overcoming a slow start to win the Group Two Sprint Cup (1,200m) aboard Lucky Sweynesse, Purton also found a way with California Spangle after the traditional leader was left in unfamiliar territory tracking pacesetter Healthy Happy.

A length adrift turning for home, it took $1.25 favourite California Spangle much of the straight to put paid to Frankie Lor Fu-chuen-trained pair Healthy Happy and Money Catcher, with his final winning margin half a length over the latter.

“I always knew that might have been the case. Frankie had two runners in the race – one’s a stayer and he has said many times he thinks Healthy Happy is better in front on the fence. I was ready for what unfolded and reacted accordingly,” said Purton, who finished the day with four wins.

“It’s probably the first time he’s been on the canvas and got himself up off it and got the job done, so hopefully, he takes confidence out of that.”

Purton labelled the effort “a nice prep run” for California Spangle’s rematch with Golden Sixty in the Group One Champions Mile, while trainer Tony Cruz assured fans normal service will resume in that contest.

“The plan was to lead the race, but then again, Zac said that if that horse really takes us on, he wouldn’t mind taking a sit,” Cruz said. “Well, that’s really not his style of racing and we’ll learn from today. I think, next time in the Champions Mile, he’ll definitely go to the front.

“We still won the race today and I’m very happy about that, but we’re not going to make the same mistake again – he should have led the race. He’s so used to going to the front, you can’t stop him. If you stop him, you’ll kill him. But today, he still wins.”

Cruz walked away confident all the same and holds out hope California Spangle can get one back on two-time Horse of the Year Golden Sixty, who holds a 3-1 advantage in their meetings.

“We beat [Golden Sixty] once, and hopefully, we can do it again. I’m very confident about my horse and I believe we still have a good chance [of beating Golden Sixty],” Cruz said.


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