The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Class prevailed on a Heavy track at Royal Randwick on Saturday with returning grey Classique Legend saluting in the Listed $150,000 Bob Charley AO Stakes (1100m) ahead of his The Everest 2020 bid in the spring.
The Les Bridge-trained Not A Single Doubt four-year-old was having his first start since last November and enjoyed a return to winning form fresh.
Winner of the Group 2 Arrowfield 3YO Sprint (1200m) at Randwick last April, Classique Legend had been winless since and originally set to be sent to Hong Kong.
He returned to the Sydney stables of Bridge in March however and part-owner Carmel Size, daughter of legendary trainer Neville Begg, was thrilled to see the horse return in style with a big spring ahead.
“It’s just so exciting to be able to have him come to the races and win,” she told the media.
“He’s not fit yet so we’re just delighted.
“Mr Bridge has done just a great job in thinking about how we get to The Everest from the 25th of March when he [Classique Legend] walked back into the stable.
“I love the horse dearly.”
Classique Legend is raced by Boniface Ho who has a slot in this year’s $15 million The Everest (1200m) and now looks to have a star sprinter ready made for the world’s richest turf race.
Mr Ho purchases his The Everest 2020 slot from the ATC and now the challenge will be getting Classique Legend primed and ready to fire in the feature on October 17.
“It’s all up in the air at the moment,” Size said.
“It is a long way away, we might see him back at the trials.
“At the moment the plan was to just run him here today, maybe trial him and keep him ticking over in the stable.”
The gelding ran a luckless sixth 2.5 lengths beaten by the three-year-old Chris Waller-trained winner Yes Yes Yes in last year’s The Everest results and will be out to atone this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival.
McEvoy reunited with the progressive star in the Bob Charley, formerly the June Stakes, and said there was plenty of improvement to come, especially considering the horse wasn’t 100% suited to the track conditions first-up.
“He’s an easy horse to like,” he said.
“It’s good to have him still here on our shores.
“I was a little bit nervous coming here today…but the horse has done a good job.
“I’m sure he’s better again once he gets back on a firmer surface.
“They were in-form sprinters…I feel he’s got a better turn of foot on a dry surface.
“He’s got here today and ticked the box, had the run…there’s a bit of a break now before a sort of semi-suitable race.
“It’s good to have him back and sort of ticking over.
“It could be a blessing in disguise [having him nearly go to Hong Kong].
“He went out a boy and come back a man. Let’s hope he can show us that back here in the spring.”
McEvoy was happy to let Classique Legend drift back and look for cover in the early stages of the race as the veteran market mover, nine-year-old Jungle Edge, pinged the gates and took up the lead.
Free striding in front, proven mudlark and the race’s 2018 winner Jungle Edge led from Snitz, who was chasing a fifth win on the trot, and moved to the middle of the track after the turn heading down the straight for home.
Classique Legend was quickly wound up and closing in over the final furlong as the easing favourite and Matthew Dunn’s fit on-speed runner Snitz, last start winner of the Listed Takeover Target Stakes, went to the front 100m out.
It was Classique Legend who drew clear in the final stages however and got the money, Southern Lad closing late to finish runner-up and Snitz holding for third.
2020 Bob Charley AO Stakes Results
|Ms Rachel King
|HANDLE THE TRUTH
|CARE TO THINK
|PASSAGE OF TIME
|Robbie Dolan (a)
Table Credit: Racing Australia
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