Hugh Bowman admits California Spangle has “got the job ahead of him from a winning perspective” in this Sunday’s Group Two Sha Tin Trophy (1,600m), but he is looking forward to beginning a union that could prove a fruitful one down the track.
Trainer Tony Cruz opted to give Bowman the California Spangle ride rather than wait for Zac Purton to make a decision between the horse aboard whom he won last season’s Group One Hong Kong Mile and Beauty Eternal.
“I’m looking forward to it. I think he’s got the job ahead of him from a winning perspective with the 135 pounds. He’s giving a fair bit of weight to some serious horses. But what it will do regardless of that is give us an idea of where he’s at for the months ahead,” Bowman said.
Prior to this campaign, California Spangle had crossed the line first in 11 consecutive trials. However, his two recent efforts have resulted in seconds behind Ka Ying Cheer and then Dream Winner.
“His trial was a bit inconclusive, really,” said Bowman of the five-year-old’s October 3 hit-out, for which he was aboard. “It was hard to get any sort of guide on that, for me, and it’s the only time I’ve been on his back.”
Before joining forces with California Spangle, Bowman will travel to Sydney to partner Chris Waller’s Espiona in The Everest (1,200m) and Joseph O’Brien-trained raider Buckaroo in the Group One King Charles III Stakes (1,600m) at Randwick on Saturday, both of whom are double figures in betting.
“I think The Everest market is pretty accurate. But Buckaroo, the price is no guide in my opinion with these horses that are travelling like he has,” Bowman said.
“He’s obviously got the talent, but how has he travelled over, and will he get conditions to suit? Will he cope with the Australian style? You’re not going to know until the race is run and won.
“I don’t see the price as any guide for a horse like him, but I think certainly for Espiona, it’s a good guide. She goes into the race in winning form, and it’s obviously a huge class rise. Is she a genuine 1,200m horse? Probably not. She’s probably better over a little bit further.
“But she’s very consistent, she appreciates all ground and she’s in good form. I think it’s a very open event – probably the most open Everest I’ve seen.”
Bowman will first look to get his big week off to a winning start with seven rides at Happy
Valley, with the Caspar Fownes-trained Kokushi Musou in the first section of the Class Four Po Lam Handicap (1,200m) one who looks to be getting close to a win.
“I was delighted with him first up, but he’s certainly more suited at the 1,200m than he was at the 1,000m when I rode him. But he gave me a really good feel, and he backed up his good first-up run with a solid second-up run,” Bowman said
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