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California Memory (left) defends his title in impressive fashion at Sha Tin

  PICTURE: Masakazu Takahashi  

California Memory scores in the Cup again

Report: Hong Kong, Sunday

Sha Tin: Longines Hong Kong Cup (Group 1) 1m 2f, 3yo+ (turf)

CALIFORNIA MEMORY became the first horse to win the Hong Kong Cup for a second time when he defended his title with an easy win.

Although the record books will say California Memory only won by a length, he was eased down late on to beat French raider Giofra comfortably with a further length and three quarters back to Australian runner Alcopop.

Carlton House was never a factor on his final start for Sir Michael Stoute and finished sixth beaten around five lengths.

Zaidan was sent into an early lead as the runners broke from the gates with California Memory settled in third by Matthew Chadwick. With few reluctant to go on, Dan Excel opened up a lead under Neil Callan racing down the back straight.

At this point Ryan Moore was still close enough under Carlton House but when they started to wind it up leaving the back the Royal runner was soon shuffled along.

Chadwick remained cool on board the favourite and he took his time before hitting the front well inside the final furlong and after California Memory put daylight between himself and the field he was eased right down in the final strides.

Winning trainer Tony Cruz said: "Everything was perfect. He had the perfect draw in one again and Matthew has given him the perfect ride like last year.

"He has learned to stay cool and is an improved jockey riding with more patience."

Cruz ruled out any overseas plans  for California Memory adding:  "It's doubtful with his problems - he gets sore - and why take a horse away from where he is best. We have got a sure thing in Hong Kong."

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