Bridge produces G1 Randwick Guineas special to join elite company

Octogenarian Les Bridge has become the oldest trainer since Bart Cummings to win a Group 1 feature at Randwick, and he has done it in the same race.

The Cups King was 87 when he claimed the 2015 Randwick Guineas with Hallowed Crown, who he trained in partnership with grandson James.

Bridge, who turns 86 in July, was on track to watch as Celestial Legend edged out Militarize and Café Millenium in a thrilling finish to Saturday’s renewal and took a moment to reflect on his distinguished career, which has included a Golden Slipper with Sir Dapper, a Melbourne Cup with Kensei and an Everest with Classique Legend.

“I’ve been training for sixty years and like all trainers I’ve had my ups and downs. A lot of downs,” Bridge said.

“But every time I’m down, I come up with a good horse. I think I’ve been blessed in some way.”

In Celestial Legend, Bridge believes he has his best horse yet.

While loathe to compare stars of different eras, he said the three-year-old’s effort to sit three-wide for most of Saturday’s Randwick Guineas (1600m) and still pull out all stops at the finish was special.

“He never got on the track. It was amazing,” Bridge said.

“I think he’s the best horse I’ve had and I’ve thought so for a while, but I’ve been frightened to even admit it to myself.

“If he pulls up well, I’ll run him in the Doncaster.”

In a thrilling finish, Kerrin Mcevoy got everything out of Celestial Legend ($3.60) to lift him to victory by a head over Militarize ($2.20 fav) with Café Millenium ($71) the same margin away third.

Only 1-1/2 lengths separated the first eight horses across the line.

While McEvoy and Bridge combined to win the 2020 Everest with Classique Legend, the Randwick Guineas was their first official Group 1 together.

McEvoy said it was a special one to deliver to both Bridge and prominent owner Bon Ho and revealed he received a little extra pre-race inspiration from his son Charlie.

“It’s bloody enjoyable,” McEvoy said.

“My young fella Charlie is in there ‘valeting’ for me, and he gave me a pep talk before the race – he said ‘c’mon Dad, it’s about time for a Group One’.

“It’s nice to have him here and be involved and it’s great to get another big race. ”

As for Bridge, he is renowned for being a man of few words but he says that is as it should be.

“I’ve found that talk’s cheap in this business, it’s doing it out on the track that’s important,” Bridge said.

And Celestial Legend did it out on the track for the Hall Of Fame trainer on Saturday.

About RS NewsWire

Racing and Sports is a global publisher of online horse racing form and information, and a leader in interactive racing technology. Racing and Sports is at the cutting-edge of information technology, allowing businesses and website users first access to emerging technologies.

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