‘It’s been an uphill battle’: Everest winner Classique Legend to return to Australia

Horse Racing Classique Legend Everest Randwick
Classique Legend: the Hong Kong career of the Everest winner is over after just one start. Photo: Australian Turf Club

By Leo Schlink/Hong Kong Jockey Club

Hong Kong: Everest winner Classique Legend looks set to return to Australia after he bled from his left nostril following trackwork at Sha Tin on Wednesday.

The grey, who beat Bivouac and Gytrash at Randwick last October, is expected to rejoin former trainer Les Bridge in Sydney for another possible tilt at the world’s richest turf race.

Classique Legend was being prepared by Caspar Fownes for the G2 Sprint Cup at Sha Tin on Monday. It would have been his first run since finishing 11th in the G1 Hong Kong Sprint in December.

Fownes had been bullish about the gelding’s recovery from niggling injuries since his last run but was shattered to find the mercurial sprinter had bled after working over 1,200m with The Hulk, sweeping home the final 400m in 22.4s. As a result of the bleed the five-year-old incurred a compulsory three-month ban from racing under Hong Kong rules.

Horse Racing Classique Legend barrier trial
Classique Legend: the grey was due to return from a four month absence at Sha Tin on Monday. Photo: Hong Kong Jockey Club

“Very unfortunate, because his gallop was unbelievable, he worked like a bullet, coming home beautifully,” Fownes said.

“He had a couple of coughs after his work and he sort of had a trickle of blood out of his left nostril and we called it. We informed the Club that he had some blood and then the vet scoped him.

“It’s just the way it is.”

Fownes immediately conferred with owner Boniface Ho and recommended the horse return to Australia.

“I said to Bon he should go back to Australia because he’s too good a horse,” Fownes said.

“He’s struggled in the environment and Bon’s thinking the same way. It’s the right thing to do with the horse because from, day one, it’s been an uphill battle.

“We’ve had him right where we wanted him and Zac Purton was very, very happy after the workout this morning and then this happened.

“We’ll probably send him back at the end of May. These things happen in our game, it’s very unfortunate.”

• Visit the Hong Kong Jockey Club website

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