04/27/2012 3:53PM

Hong Kong: California Memory tries to rebound in Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin


With his old rival and defending champion Ambitious Dragon sitting out the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup on Sunday at Sha Tin in Hong Kong, it could be California Memory’s turn to step into the spotlight, but to do so, California Memory must rebound from a subpar performance March 31 in the Dubai Duty Free, where he finished 12th.

Second to Ambitious Dragon in the 2011 QE II Cup, California Memory made a rare trip out of Hong Kong while in solid form, but he simply failed to show his usual late acceleration when racing evenly in the Duty Free. Perhaps a return home is all California Memory requires; perhaps he remains vulnerable Sunday.

The Aidan O’Brien shipper Treasure Beach should have a strong chance. Treasure Beach hasn’t won since he captured the Secretariat Stakes last summer at Arlington, but that win came at the QE II Cup’s 10-furlong distance, and Treasure Beach had a much more favorable Dubai experience than did California Memory, checking in a respectable fourth in the Sheema Classic over about 1 1/2 miles.

The race also includes veteran standbys like Chinchon and Viscount Nelson, but locally based Fay Fay might be a danger. Fay Fay, a New Zealand-bred spending his first season in Hong Kong, captured the Group 1 Hong Kong Derby in his most recent race.