Les Bridge confident Classique Legend can defend The Everest title after returning home from Hong Kong

Hall of Fame trainer Les Bridge is confident reigning The TAB Everest champion Classique Legend will return to top form – and get the same result in the world’s richest turf race later this year.

Bridge made the bold declaration after Classique Legend arrived back at the trainer’s Randwick stables on Tuesday night following a forgettable Hong Kong campaign.

Classique Legend returned to Sydney after an arduous journey from Hong Kong, which included a two-week quarantine stopover in Auckland.

“I waited for him back at the stables last night, he got here about 10pm,’’ Bridge said on Wednesday.

“They say a horse can lose up to 30kg on the flight so he will need 48-72 hours to come right and then we will know more but it’s good to have him back.

“He knew he was home, too – he flew into his old stable box.’’

Bridge admitted he didn’t think he would see Classique Legend again after the brilliant grey sprinter was sent to Hong Kong after winning The Everest last spring.

“But the horse just didn’t settle in his new environment in Hong Kong and that can happen, that’s no one’s fault,’’ Bridge said.

“I’ve got him back with enough time to get him ready for the spring. I don’t want to put him out in the cold so he’ll have two or three easy weeks.

“He will just do some trot and canter exercise and then we will start his build-up to the spring.’’

Classique Legend has returned to Les Bridge’s stable. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

In latest TAB Fixed Odds betting for the $15 million The Everest (1200m), run at Royal Randwick on October 16, Classique Legend is second favourite at $6 behind old rival Nature Strip at $4.50.

Bridge pointed out that Classique Legend is still very lightly-raced – the rising six-year-old gelding has only had 13 career starts winning six and earning more than $8.6 million – and is confident the sprinter will be competitive at the highest level again next season.

“All I have to do is get him back into the form he was in last spring and we will get the same result in the big one,’’ he said.

“I’m going to use the same sort of schedule as last year. He will have one, maybe two, barrier trials before resuming in The Shorts, then the Premiere Stakes going into The Everest.’’

Meanwhile, the Listed $150,000 Bob Charley AO Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday – a feature sprint Classique Legend won last year in a one-start winter campaign – has attracted a final field of 14 (plus two emergencies) including form filly Ballistic Lover, classy Viridine, Villami, Embracer, Adelong, Wandabaa, Fituese, Albumin, Southern Lad and Surreal Step.

Originally published asHomesick Legend back to defend Everest title

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