Classique Poised To Become Everest Legend

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Les Bridge

Five years ago, Les Bridge was wandering around the Inglis sales when he bumped into long-time friend Carmel Size.

Size was hunting for a yearling on behalf of her boss, Hong Kong-based businessman Bon Ho, and had been captivated by a steely grey son of Not A Single Doubt.

She asked Bridge if he would cast his learned eye over the youngster.

“When we went over, somebody else was looking at the horse,” Bridge said.

“I won’t say who it was, but a really big spender. We had to wait until they had finished until we could look at it.

“Carmel said, ‘what do you think?’ and I said, ‘it’s a beautiful horse’.”

“She said, ‘well, I’m going to buy it’ and I told her not to get into a bidding dual because I thought the other people were going to bid on it.

“She rang me the next day and said, ‘I got that horse for $400,000’.”

The horse was Classique Legend and even back then, Bridge reckoned Size had got herself a good deal.

The astuteness of the purchase has been borne out on the track with Classique Legend banking $1.8 million from 11 starts.

At Randwick on Saturday, he will chase his biggest payday yet in the $15 million The Everest.

Bridge knew early on that Classique Legend was his next good horse.

So did jockey Kerrin McEvoy after he rode him work for the first time.

“He came back in and he said, ‘I will go anywhere to ride this horse’ and he actually drove to Hawkesbury to ride him in a barrier trial before he raced,” Bridge said.

Aside from three starts last spring, McEvoy has been a regular part of the Classique Legend team and he knows what it takes to win an Everest having claimed it twice on Redzel.

Bridge, who at 82 is the oldest trainer at Randwick, knows a thing or two about winning big races himself.

After six decades as a trainer and with a Melbourne Cup and Golden Slipper on his mantlepiece, there isn’t much that fazes him.

He says there is no special formula, but an ability to change with the times and adapt to new feeding and training ideas has been an important part of his longevity.

However, Bridge regards luck as the biggest factor.

“The bottom line is I’ve been blessed that I keep getting a good horse,” Bridge said.

“Good horses make good trainers.

“You’ve got to get everything right with them, like a coach with a football side I suppose.

“But I’ve been lucky. Just when things get a bit slow I come up with a good horse. I don’t know how I do it, but I keep doing it.”

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