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California Spangle turns tables on Golden Sixty in memorable Mile

California Spangle has turned the tables on Golden Sixty to claim the G1 Hong Kong Mile in the latest instalment of what is developing into an epic racing rivalry.

Zac Purton has lifted California Spangle to a breakthrough victory in the Hong Kong Mile, denying Golden Sixty a third consecutive victory in the race.

Just three weeks after the pair fought out a thrilling finish in the G2 Jockey Club Mile, where Golden Sixty overwhelmed him late, California Spangle was able to find enough to defy Golden Sixty, with Australian-trained raider Laws Of Indices running a very creditable third.

The tactical shape of the race was upended at the 800-metre mark, when California Spangle’s stablemate from the Tony Cruz stable, Beauty Joy, swept to the front, leaving Purton in the unfamiliar role of tracking the leader.

However, the change in tempo impacted Vincent Ho and Golden Sixty as well. They had settled closer than usual in the run, but when the pace went on, the defending champ was left a little flat-footed.

California Spangle retook the lead in the straight and while Golden Sixty closed with every stride, he ran out of ground, falling short by a neck on the line, with another 1.5 lengths back to Laws Of Indices, who fought on very well, while Beauty Joy finished fourth.

It was Purton’s fourth victory in the race and comes 10 years after his first HKIR victory aboard Ambitious Dragon.

“He’s a special horse,” Purton said of California Spangle. “Unfortunately, he has been coming up against a champ and just coming up short, but it was third time lucky today.”

Purton said the sudden mid-race challenge from the stablemate came as a surprise to him, but that he had confidence ahead of the race that California Spangle could reverse the result on Golden Sixty.

“I got off him last start and said to Tony, ‘he’ll win next time’ and he didn’t believe me when I said that, but he had a plan today. We didn’t quite execute it, but we have won the race,” he said.

It was also a fourth win in the race for Cruz, who last won it with Beauty Only in 2016.

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