Les Bridge was there early in the hours last month when Classique Legend arrived back at his stables from an ill fated venture in Hong Kong and is already full of enthusiasm about his runner returning as good as ever.
“Classique Legend looks terrific,’’ Bridge said.
“If I can get him in the same mental and physical state as he was going into The Everest last year he can win it again.
“I probably won’t know for sure until after I give him a barrier trial but my gut feeling is he is as good as ever.
“All I’ve got to do is to get the horse back to the form he was in last year, that’s the key. I don’t think The Everest is going to be any harder this year than it was last year.
“I’m telling you, if I get him 100 percent I’m not worried about anything.’’
Such is the progress Classique Legend looks to be making, Bridge is looking to trial his stable star before the end of August with The Shorts a likely starting point for his Everest title defence.
“He is just starting to work along, he’s been doing three-quarter pace but will work along a bit stronger on Saturday morning,’’ Bridge said.
“I’m getting him ready for a barrier trial on August 24. I’d say he will be about 80 per cent fit for the trial.
“He did have that run in the Bob Charley Stakes in June last year which he didn’t have this time but apart from that, I’m sticking to the same program.
“After his trial next month, I’ll then decide if he needs another trial before The Shorts. I expect he will only need one trial before The Shorts which is only 1100m but I’m keeping an open mind.
“The horse has been through a lot, everyone knows the story, but I’m really happy with him now.
“It’s good to have the horse back and he knows he’s home again.’’
Classique Legend currently sits on the second line of betting to go back to back in the Everest as a $7 chance. Long time favouritism is held by Nature Strip after an impressive demolition of the TJ Smith field in April.