By Ray Hickson
It’s easy to get carried away with midweek form but jockey Kerrin McEvoy is confident unbeaten three-year-old Classique Legend will live up to the raps on him at Rosehill on Saturday.
On a day littered with Group 1 rides to concentrate on - the likes of The Autumn Sun and Redzel to name two - McEvoy isn’t forgetting the boom gelding who chases a hat-trick in the Listed $140,000 Camera House Darby Munro Stakes (1200m).
He hasn’t let another rider near the horse and that speaks volumes about his potential.
“When you get to carnival time, Group 1 or not Group 1, there’s a massive amount riding on the result,’’ he said.
“So the focus is on him as well, an up and coming young horse and we’ve got to get what we can from him while he’s still in Australia.’’
Classique Legend is owned in similar interests to the 2016 Darby Munro winner Southern Legend, also trained by Les Bridge and now based in Hong Kong and who is set to race in Dubai next weekend, and may or may not be bound for Hong Kong one day as well.
Whether the owners keep him around to target the $7.5m The Golden Eagle (1500m) in November remains to be seen but he has a few rungs to climb first.
Classique Legend makes it two from two at Randwick on March 6
What Classique Legend has shown in his two wins on the Kensington track is a sharp sprint, he can run time.
At his debut at 1100m the grey clocked a last 600m of 32.64 on a soft 6 surface with a blistering 10.88 final 200m, according to Punter’s Intelligence data.
Then two weeks later, up to 1250m, he ran 33.93 with a last 200m of 11.42 as he broke six lengths clear.
“Les is not one to screw them down too much first-up,’’ McEvoy said.
“His attitude has been great and he’s got a bit fitter as we’ve gone along. I liked the way he got through the soft ground on Tuesday morning.’’
Clearly Classique Legend’s two wins have been eye-catching and TAB has him marked a short priced favourite at $1.80 to continue on his winning way despite a potentially tricky barrier in 11.
McEvoy said while he’s exciting, and the gelding has the scope for plenty more improvement, he still has to take that “pretty big step’’ on the bigger stage.
“I think he’s versatile enough and he has that dynamic turn of foot and I think there’s still a bit more to offer if he has to pull out a bit more in a race,’’ he said.
“It’s a fair jump in grade that’s for sure, a different ball game.
“You just want to get a fair run for your money so we can see where he stacks up.’’