Classique Legend will vie for The Everest riches. Picture: AAP
Classique Legend will vie for The Everest riches. Picture: AAP

Historic deal seals Legend’s The Everest spot

CLASSIQUE Legend, the boom Sydney three-year-old, is the second sprinter to secure a start in the $14 million The Everest later this year.

The Les Bridge-trained Classique Legend joins Pierata in the field for the world's richest turf race, run at Royal Randwick on October 19.

But the Classique Legend deal broke new ground as he is the first horse into the Everest after a slot-holder sale.

Greg Ingham's GPI Racing sold his slot for this year's race to Classique Legend's owner, Bon Ho, and his racing and bloodstock manager, Carmel Size, for an undisclosed sum.

The slot sale attracted global interest and it is rumoured the deal was struck for considerably more than the $600,000 needed to initially buy an Everest slot.

"The decision to aim Classique Legend at The Everest later this year should be seen as a vote of confidence in the Australian racing industry, with special acknowledgment to Racing NSW who have developed the initiative,'' Size said.

"Mr Bon Ho is a devotee of racing and as much as he would love to see his horse winning in Hong Kong, he is relishing the challenge of tackling the best in The Everest.

"It is even more satisfying to have purchased the GPI slot from Inglis, as that is where Classique Legend was purchased.

"Les Bridge is particularly excited at the news and while we acknowledge Classique Legend will need to go to the next level, we have every faith in his ability which Les believes is still untapped.''

Tommy Berry salutes on Pierata. Picture: Getty
Tommy Berry salutes on Pierata. Picture: Getty

The decision to keep Classique Legend in Australia for The Everest comes after last week's news that All Aged Stakes winner Pierata's retirement to stud has been delayed for another season so he can be aimed at The Everest.

There is also the very real possibility Classique Legend could back up in the $7.5 million Golden Eagle (1500m) which is restricted to four-year-olds and is held at Rosehill Gardens on November 2.

This means Classique Legend is in line to contest the two richest races in Australia for a potential collect over more than $10 million prizemoney during the Sydney spring carnival.

"These races (Everest, Golden Eagle) were designed to incentivise owners and trainers to keep their horses in work and not send them to stud prematurely, or send them overseas to race,'' Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys said.

"We saw that with Trapeze Artist last year and he came out to run second in The Everest

"If we can keep more top horses in training like Pierata and Classique Legend, it's great for punters because they know these horses and know their form, and it's great for racing.''

Classique Legend trainer Les Bridge. Picture: AAP
Classique Legend trainer Les Bridge. Picture: AAP

V'landys added it was "always envisaged that the slots in The Everest would be tradeable and we welcome Carmel Size and Bon Ho into what is one of the most exciting and publicised sporting events in Australia.''

Classique Legend has only had four starts, winning three and finishing a very unlucky third in his only loss. His effort to run away with the Group 2 Arrowfield Sprint during The Championships last month was indicative of a quality, young sprinter.

Inglis Managing Director Mark Webster was thrilled to learn Classique Legend would remain racing in Australia and be set for The Everest.

"Classique Legend is yet another example of the growing success of the Inglis Classic Yearling Sale, which he topped in 2017 as part of the inaugural Gold Riband session,'' Webster said.

"It's fantastic he has been given the chance to conquer The Everest, following on from the success of fellow star Inglis graduate Redzel having won the past two years.

"Bon Ho and Carmel Size are huge supporters of the industry and I wish them the very best of luck in their pursuit of Everest glory.''