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California Spangle sparkles in Al Quoz Sprint

California Spangle ended a decade-long drought for Hong Kong at the Dubai World Cup meeting when landing the Al Quoz Sprint in track record time.

A decade on from Amber Sky's memorable success, Hong Kong was once again in the Al l Quoz Sprint winners' enclosure courtesy of California Spangle's sparkling performance under Brenton Avdulla.

The Tony Cruz-trained six-year-old tracked the fast pace set by Ponntos before kicking clear with two furlongs to travel. Charlie Appleby's classy filly Star Of Mystery threw down a strong challenge under Dettori in the closing stages, but California Spangle found plenty for pressure and drew away to score by three-quarters of a length.

Clive Cox's Diligent Harry arguably produced a career-best finishing a further three-quarters of a length away in third.

California Spangle stopped the clock in 1:07.50, lowering the 1200-metre track record of 1:07.61 set by Wildman Jack in the 2020 Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint.

Winning trainer Tony Cruz said: "I knew it would happen sooner or later. I got this opportunity, and I came with a lot of confidence that we would win this race today.

"The family - the 'California family' - is here today. Howard Liang, whose horses usually are named California, passed away recently so I would like to dedicate this win to him. We are over the moon with this, the owner's wish was always to win these big races. I wish he was here tonight but his whole family is here and we're going to celebrate together.

"If you look back through his history, California Spangle on his debut, he ran a record time in Hong Kong and he ran a record time at 1200m. I believe when he hits the front, nobody can catch him.

"I think we'll go into sprint races back in Hong Kong, that's the end of April [the G1 Chairman's Sprint Prize]. We'll take on Lucky Sweynesse. He's always been a sprinter-miler and I believe he's more a sprinter than a miler. You have to go for those longer races in Hong Kong earlier in their career, but I think we know where he is best now."


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