By Ray Hickson
Les Bridge probably doesn’t need to go quoting legendary American trainers like Bob Baffert to describe what makes Classique Legend so talented that he talks about him like he has talked about few other horses.
Classique Legend takes his final step before the $14 million TAB Everest in Saturday’s Group 2 $500,000 Bisley Workwear Premiere Stakes (1200m) at Randwick.
Now Bridge, 81, isn’t your standard modern day trainer, he’s a bit like our own legend Bart Cummings in that he’ll often produce a cracking line or two. He doesn’t use a lot of filler in his sentences and that means when he makes a statement it's remembered.
And here’s Bridge quoting Baffert.
“They asked the trainer in America that won five Kentucky Derbys ‘how do you work it out’,’’ Bridge said.
“He said ‘some have got it and some haven’t’ and that’s pretty right. He’s just a class horse.’’
The lightly raced grey was having just his fifth start when he ran a game second to Pierata in The Shorts (1100m) two weeks ago and that effort earned him favouritism at $2.25 for the Premiere.
Bridge was rapt with the four-year-old’s first attempt in the big league and said he can only improve off it.
“I thought he ran great, a typical first-up run,’’ he said.
“He couldn’t find that little bit extra that last 50m but with that run under his belt and the subsequent work he’s had he should strip fitter on Saturday.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been happier going into a race. Not ever.’’
That last statement is all Bridge, he can be bullish at times and that’s all he’s been when it comes to his TAB Everest runner.
Classique Legend’s major gallop this week happened on Tuesday on the Randwick course proper where he covered 1000m strongly with a last 400m in around 23.5 seconds.
Co-slot owner Carmel Size said there’s a sense of excitement building that her TAB Everest dream is about to become a reality after she and the gelding’s owner Bon Ho took a risk and purchased the GPI Racing slot earlier this year.
“It’s amazing to think we’re one run away from being a real possibility we’re in the Everest. How about all those people that laughed at me,’’ she said.
Classique Legend is on the third line of TAB Everest betting as a $7 chance, alongside star WA mare Arcadia Queen and dual winner Redzel, in a market that’s in for another shake up this weekend.
Classique Legend runs second in the Shorts at Randwick on September 21
In Melbourne, Santa Ana Lane has his first start this spring and Sunlight will back up after placing in the Moir last Friday night in the Gilgai Stakes (1200m) down the Flemington straight.
Size said since the Shorts the horse she calls Jiminy has really switched on and believes the path they’ve taken is the right one.
“He tried to get away from me on Saturday and I had my heart in my mouth,’’ she said.
“I always said when he had that setback and missed the first trial it might be a blessing in disguise and seeing how he’s switched on since his first run it’s how I said it was.
“Had we been able to push forward with him he would be ready already.’’