Legendary Randwick trainer Les Bridge produced Classique Legend under Kerrin McEvoy to win the 2020, $15m, TAB Everest (1200m) on his home track on Saturday for his first Everest victory and McEvoy’s third.
The five-year-old Not A Single Doubt gelding has always threatened to scale the heights and it was meant to be in Hong Kong where his owner Bon Ho resides, but through travel interruptions he stayed in Bridge’s care at Randwick. Ho bought the ATC’s slot in the Everest for the 2019 renewal and Classique Legend was sixth. A year later and Classique Legend dominated and earned $6.2 million in the process.
The race was set up by a rampart Eduardo and Rachel King setting early sectionals of 10.05 and 10.46 and the rest where spread out across the High Street side. At the 800m Nature Strip was second, 2L behind Eduardo, and Classique Legend and McEvoy were 11L behind the leader.
The pace could not be sustained and gradually the margins closed. Classique Legend was 7L in arrears at the 400m and 5L at the 300m. McEvoy had them out in clear running room in the middle of the track and the leaders inside were tiring quickly inside. Nature Strip had also sped along and his ability to sustain is not what it was, certainly this preparation. Like Eduardo he faded from the 200 and eventually finished seventh.
Outside Classique Legend went up another gear from the 250m and with 125m to go he was in the lead and leaving the rest behind reaching the line 2 1/2L clear of Bivouac (Exceed And Excel) and Glen Boss with a further 1/2L to Gytrash (Lope de Vega) and Jason Collett in third.
Trekking was fourth, Haut Brion Her fifth and Santa Ana Lane sixth. The time was 1.08.27 on the Good 4 track with the final 600m in 35.01. Classique Legend paid $4.20 on fixed odds and $4.00 on the tote with TAB taking their two biggest wagers on the winner on Saturday of $10,000 @ $4.60 and $10,000 @ $4.20.
Kerrin McEvoy salutes the victory with Classique Legend, picture Stevehart.com.au
“I have being telling you for three months, how much start do you want?” said Bridge.
“One of my greatest friends was Percy Sykes, who I spent a lot of time with, and he said it's all in the genes. Some horses just get all the good genes.
“This horse has got a girth on him that deep and he has just got big a V8 motor. It is unbelievable.
“He will still probably go to Hong Kong, we will see what happens. We kidnapped him last time,” he said.
“I am so proud of the horse. To think I bought him as a yearling and I have able to look after him, it has just been the world to me. I might have to retire now,” said racing and bloodstock manager Carmel Size
“He has been so confident. We have looked at this horse in the stable since the 21st of March, via a very unorthodox preparation, but gee what a marvel Les Bridge is. He is a legend.”
“It was a funny one because I needed to come back behind Trekking to get a slot and then they went quicker. I just had to ride my race. I looked up at the 600m and they were well in front, they were off. I thought ‘far out, if Nature Strip and his companions are back to their best they are going to take a bit of running down,” said McEvoy.
“Full credit to my horse with that cover and that soft time of it early, he was really able to power when I asked him. Soon after straightening I was confident I was going to pick them up.
“Thrilled to get the horse over the line. Les has pulled a masterstroke off. He has kept him in training from the middle of since July and Carmel has attended to him like a baby. It has been fantastic. It is an unbelievable feeling to win another one.
“Every big win is special. I was lucky enough to team up with Redzel soon after he got racing with the Snowden’s. This is a horse that Carmel threw me on and Les threw me on really early in his career and he showed instant brilliance. I backed him to the hilt from then on to win a good race. Last year was a tough call, I had to stick solid with Redzel and the Snowdens and this horse was a little bit unlucky.
“We have all been on the same page that the horse has come back bigger and better. It is extra special
“He (Bridge) is a marvel. He has been great. He doesn’t say too much, he gave me no instructions. I said what I planned to do which is fantastic from a jockeys’ point of view if you have got backing from the trainer and he has trained some champions. This horse is at the top of his list,” he said.
Classique Legend, out of the Encosta de Lago mare Pinocchio, was set for this race by Bridge winning the listed June Stakes over 1100m back in June, then the Group 2 The Shorts over 1100m on September 19th followed by running second to Libertini – eighth on Saturday – in the Group 2 Premiere Stakes over 1200m on October 3rd.
Overall Classique Legend has now won six from 12 and placed four times with earnings soaring to $8,635,500.
Les Bridge, picture Sportpix.com.au
What the beaten jockeys said:
James McDonald (Nature Strip): “We went good. Crazy tactics by the leader.”
Josh Parr (Trekking): “What a fantastic effort from him again. He is an underrated sprinter. He just keeps performing at the highest level. Little rippa.”
Sam Clipperton (Santa Ana Lane): “He went super. They nearly went too quick for me. I was in back part of the field probably in the right part of the race. Had too much ground to make up. His last furlong was better than anything in the race.”
Nash Rawiller (Behemoth): “Probably didn’t around the home turn completely. He was quite disappointing in the run home. He’s a better horse than that.”
Glen Boss (Bivouac): “He went outstanding my horse. Full credit to the winner. I followed him. He put 3 lengths on me when I was quickening. We couldn’t have beaten the winner today.”
Jason Collett (Gytrash): “Great run. He was tardy to begin. Tracked into it nicely. I was in top gear most of the way. Really good effort.”
Rachel King (Eduardo): “Just burnt himself early.”
Tim Clark (Dollar For Dollar): “We were outclassed but we tried hard.”
Tommy Berry (Tofane): “Pulled up very bad in the wind. I had the back of Bivouac and I thought they went quick enough to be in the race but there was a clear excuse.”
Regan Bayliss (Libertini): “I was in the right spot where the winner was following Classique Legend. We we lined up he put 3 lengths on us. Best horse won the race today.”
Brenton Avdulla (Haut Brion Her): “She ran out of her skin. We went along at a brilliant speed. She has a big race in her.”
The mountain climbed and conquered, picture Sportpix.com.au
TAB Everest, photo finish picture ATC