By Brad Gray
Classique Legend only made his debut three and half months ago, now he is the second horse confirmed for the 2019 running of The Everest joining Pierata.
The three-year-old’s Hong Kong-based owner Bon Ho and Carmel Size Racing, with Size the Racing and Bloodstock manager for Mr Ho, purchased the GPI Racing slot which had been put up for sale.
The Les Bridge-trained gelding has won three of his four starts and confirmed his status as a star on the rise after sweeping to a dominant victory in the $1m G2 Arrowfield 3YO Sprint (1200m) at Royal Randwick over The Championships, the same track and trip as The Everest to be run on Saturday, October 19.
“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,’’ said Size.
“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.’’
The sale of the GPI Racing slot, which was originally acquired by Greg Ingham for his champion sprinter Chautauqua, attracted global interest and the dynamic nature of The Everest is all part of the concept’s unique appeal.
“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,” said Racing NSW CEO Peter V’Landys.
“With prizemoney of $14 million it’s potentially very good value for an owner of a horse that may be otherwise a fringe contender, such as Classique Legend, to get a start in the race.”
Mr Ho owns the slot for one year, with Ingham, the original slot holder, retaining the ongoing option.
Classique Legend is $11 to win The Everest with TAB Fixed Odds, behind $5 favourite Santa Ana Lane.