Starspangled Sprinter Wins in Dubai

Tara Madgwick - Sunday March 31

There were no Aussie trained horses competing at the Dubai World Cup meeting overnight, but Australian jockey Brenton Avdulla was in the winner’s circle for the Group I Al Quoz Sprint (1200m) aboard the Irish bred and Hong Kong trained Starspangledbanner gelding California Spangle (IRE).

The pride of Hong Kong - California Spangle wins the G1 Al Quoz Sprint - image Grant Courtney

Trained by Tony Cruz, California Spangle left Hong Kong off a last start win in the Group I Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) and took his A game with him.

He raced forward from the gates as he usually does and took up a good position before racing to the lead with 400m to run. The six year=old was strong to the line holding off the late surge of Godolphin homebred three-year-old Kodiac filly filly Star Of Mystery, who missed by three-quarters of a length for Frankie Dettori.

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 G3 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint.

It was the third Group I win for California Spangle, whose overall record stands at 13 wins and eight placings from 24 starts.


California Spangle owners celebrate - image Grant Courtney

“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,” said Tony Cruz.

“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."

California Spangle is a triple G1 winner - image Grant Courtney

Royal Ascot may also be a possibility for California Spangle with Cruz to consider an assault on their prestigious carnival in June.

Sourced originally from the Goffs Orby Sale in Ireland where he made €150,000 as a yearling, California Spangle is a half-brother to stakes-placed Wychwood Warrior and the best of five winners from Pearlita’s Passion, a half-sister by High Chaparral to Group II winner Shakespearean.

Owner representative Chester Liang said: "The horse means a lot to my family and I and I’m really happy that we were able to win. Tony said if he won last time in Hong Kong, then we’d come. He did, we decided the horse was in good form, so we came. This was my dad’s favourite horse, so he always means a lot. He is probably looking down on us.”

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 at Coolmore Australia last spring and covered 116 mares at a fee of $33,000.


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