As it did last year The Shorts is shaping up to be a ‘mini Everest’ however trainer Les Bridge has elected to avoid the race with his champion sprinter who won the 2020 edition before winning the Premiere Stakes before becoming triumphant in The Everest.
In an interview with TAB Radio, Bridge explained that Classique Legend simply isn’t fit enough at the moment and could be tempted to run him in The Everest without a lead up run.
"I'm even thinking of just giving him training, the old style, and going first-up into The Everest.
"Get him really fit on the track. It's only a 1200m sprint, it just may suit him, I'm toying with that idea."
"I've said before, if I can get him in the same mental and physical condition that I had him last year, I'd get the same result. I've just got to get to that stage so whether I do that by giving him another run or just working him and giving him another couple of good barrier trials."
It hasn’t been an easy road for the Grey Flash who hasn’t raced since December of last year in the Hong Kong Sprint and returned to Australia in the middle of the year after a nose bleed ruled him out of racing for 3 months.
Bridge confirmed that while getting condition back in to Classique Legend had been relatively painless it was proving tougher to improve his fitness.
"He's had a year off really. He's had a pretty disrupted 12 months. He had a bad trip back to Australia, he had to go to New Zealand and go into quarantine in Auckland in the middle of winter."
"When he got back here he was fairly light in condition and I had to build him up and I did too good a job of it, I built him up too much. I'd given him slow work and good tucker to get him back to what he was."
"The bottom line is when I trialled him the other day ... he won the trial, but it wasn't the old Classique Legend, he was running on empty the last 80 metres, so we've just got to get him fit now."
Chris Waller trained Nature Strip holds favouritism for the Everest at $4.50 with Masked Crusader on the second line of betting at $5 for Team Hawkes.