Wellington prepares for Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup defence

Declan Schuster

07/03/2023 12:54

Wellington limbers up at Sha Tin under Alexis Badel.
Wellington limbers up at Sha Tin under Alexis Badel.

Wellington’s bid for a fifth Group 1 success is firmly on course after his effortless barrier trial at Sha Tin this morning (Tuesday, 7 March) under Alexis Badel for trainer Richard Gibson.

Gearing up to retain his title in the G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) on Sunday, 19 March, Wellington coasted through this morning’s hit-out as he readies to face California Spangle, Lucky Sweynesse, Beauty Joy, Waikuku and Courier Wonder – in what is shaping as a fiercely competitive renewal of the race in two weeks’ time. 

Badel, 33, returned pleased following the 2021/22 Hong Kong Champion Sprinter’s effort to clock 57.97s over 1000m on turf, while California Spangle stretched out in the same barrier trial this morning to post 57.92s, one placing ahead of him in first position. 

“He ran well, I was happy to let him stretch out a little bit and obviously he had a long time between his last two runs. It was good to see him in good condition today,” Badel said.

Wellington has banked HK$59.2 million with 12 wins from 20 starts in Hong Kong and remains the benchmark performer of the city’s sprint division.

Wellington and California Spangle stretch out at Sha Tin this morning.

“He’s doing very well. He was only beaten by a great, young horse in Hong Kong last time. Hopefully we can turn the tables, he seemed to be in good condition today, so let’s see what happens,” Badel said.

Wellington finished second behind Lucky Sweynesse in last month’s G1 Centenary Sprint Cup (1200m) at Sha Tin.

“It’s going to be an interesting race with three (recent) Group 1 winners competing together. California Spangle has proven his quality and he can lead the race, Lucky Sweynesse is very versatile – he’ll probably be handy,” Badel said.

Beauty Generation successfully defended his crown in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup twice to rack up a trio of wins in the race (2018, 2019 & 2020) – each time under Zac Purton, who rode California Spangle to finish third in the G1 Stewards’ Cup (1600m) last start behind Golden Sixty and Romantic Warrior.

Fresh following a Group 1 double at Randwick in Australia on Saturday afternoon (4 March), Purton was in the plate for California Spangle’s slick tune-up this morning.

The Australian rider’s Group 1 double Down Under came aboard Artorius in the G1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) and Communist in the G1 Randwick Guineas (1600m).

California Spangle boasts three wins this season, twice over a mile and also in the G3 Celebration Cup Handicap (1400m) at his first run back this term as he builds towards Sunday week’s Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup.

Badel also partnered Tourbillon Diamond and Super Wealthy in trials this morning.

Featured News