Another chapter in the story that has made Les Bridge into a legend of Australian racing can be written when he sends out Classique Legend in the $15 million The Everest over 1200m at Randwick.
Now 75 Bridge registered his first major success with the brilliant Sir Dapper in the Golden Slipper Stakes in 1983.
Then in 1987 he demonstrated his versatility as a trainer by capturing the Melbourne Cup with the dour stayer Kensei.
Over the intervening period he has had numerous outstanding performers in his care.
It is a tribute to Bridge’s adaptability and durability that so many years into his career he is sending out one of the leading chances in the world’s richest race on turf.
Like Bridge Classique Legend’s jockey Kerrin McEvoy is comfortable whatever the distances of the races he is riding in.
He has three Melbourne Cups to his credit and won the first two runnings of The Everest aboard the gutsy Redzel.
Unfortunately for Bridge and Classique Legend, the Not a Single Doubt gelding over-raced and struck trouble before finishing sixth behind Yes Yes last year.
The grey has matured since, winning over 1100m in stakes races at Randwick in June and September before finishing second behind Libertini in the Premiere Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on October 3.
He has drawn ideally in gate six, which is just outside Nature Strip and just inside Gytrash, who has come a long way since defeating Redzel first-up in the Gr.1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington in February.
Gytrash, who is representing South Australia, was subsequently placed in the Newmarket Handicap, William Reid Stakes and Goodwood Handicap at the elite level.
Trainer Gordon Richards has since concentrated on having Gytrash fit, fresh and ready-to-go in The Everest and the Lope de Vega gelding showed he was on-song by easily accounting for Nature Strip in the Concorde Stakes at Randwick last month.
Behemoth, who is also from South Australia, did not have the best of runs in his two outings in Sydney last spring. However, he has soared to a new level this season overcoming Toorak Handicap winner Mr Quickie in the Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield before carrying 60kg in scoring a dominant victory at the track in the Group 1 Rupert Clarke Handicap (1400m) A long striding five-year-old Behemoth might have some problems after drawing No.2 but he can be relied upon to be finishing fast.
Godolphin’s Bivouac, who will have the services of last year’s winning jockey Glen Boss, has plotted a different course since overcoming Yes Yes in the 2019 Run to the Rose (1200m) and Golden Rose (1400m) last year He produced a career high at his second start last campaign in the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) easily defeating Loving Gaby, Gytrash, Zoutori and company in March.
Significantly he was second-up at Flemington and now James Cummings has him going into The Everest second-up.
The enigmatic Chris Waller stable’s Nature Strip has a shaky grip on favouritism after being as short as $2.80 earlier in the year. The chestnut has dazzling speed so cannot be under-rated but he has shown little resistance when tackled in two lead-up runs and probably needs give in the ground to be at his most effective.
- Classique Legend 
- Gytrash 
- Behemoth 
- Bivouac