The legend goes. Caramel Size identified a yearling out of Not A Single Doubt by the mare Pinocchio from just her second crop when he was presented at the 2017 Inglis Classic Gold Ribband Session.
This was the first year the Gold Ribband Session was first introduced, and he was the sale topper, selling for A$400,000 to Carmel Size.
Her comments post-sale were that she ‘just had to have him’.
Purchased for Mr Bon Ho, the yearling later named Classique Legend is one of the favourites in this year’s A$14 million Everest race.
We spoke to the grand lady of the lady herself about her yearling, who has earned A$773,500 in his short career with 3 wins from 4 starts to his name.
ED: You identified and purchased Classique Legend? What attracted you to him in the first place?
CS: As a Yearling, he was well balanced and walked with ‘attitude’ like he owned the place, he was a bit of a character too and I bonded with him before I’d even purchased him.
Preauction I knew for sure he was only ever going to come home with me, whatever the price. I choose and purchased the horse for Mr Bon Ho and knew there was a risk; I may have had to go well over budget to secure him when it came to bidding on Classique Legend.
But I just knew I had to trust my instincts and secure him and everything else would sort itself out
ED: As the daughter of Hall of Fame Trainer, Neville Begg and former wife of a legendary HK trainer as well as being an iconic bloodstock agent yourself (albeit working exclusively for Mr Bon Ho: you are no stranger to well-pedigreed horses. What was it about him, which made you decide that THIS was the horse who could win 2019 The Everest?
CS: At this stage of Classique Legend’s preparation, I wouldn’t be prepared to say he’s good enough to win the Everest as the horse still has to make the quantum leap from his explosive first racing preparation as a 3-year-old, step up to the next level and transition to his 4-year-old year.
Mr Ho and I purchased the Slot it the hope that Classique Legend does make that natural improvement, but if he doesn’t we will negotiate with another horse to represent our Slot and still enjoy what is one of the greatest racing events in the world.
ED: What are the plans for Classique Legend before & after The Everest?
CS: Once Classique Legend kick starts his 4YO campaign with his (return: Barrier Trial at Randwick on 27th August 2019, trainer, Mr Les Bridge and I will be better placed to make a plan as to what path we take to the Everest.
I have a few schools of thoughts but the horse will tell us what route to take in order to give him the best opportunity of being competitive in whichever race we see him resume in.
ED: You have decided to take on the role of a co-slot-holder. What were your reasons to go for it?
CS: In order to convince Mr Ho that purchasing a Slot some 5 months out from the race and certainly well before we knew if Classique Legend has progressed to the next level, it was my belief that if I demonstrated to him, I was prepared to back my ‘wild, random’ idea, of having a ‘shot’ at the race, that he’d come on board and agree to proceed. Needless to say, that line of thinking worked!!
ED: What advantages do you hope The Everest will provide over the next few years?
CS: The Everest puts racing in New South Wales on the World Stage, the race transcends racing purists, in only its third year, it’s rivalling the Melbourne Cup in recognition, drawing huge crowds, many of who, may have never been racing before, amongst the newcomers I hope that the Everest ignites their imaginations and we see a new generation of future owners, participants and loyal fans.
ED: When you prepare to visit the sales with serious intent to buy, what is your process and what are the sorts of timelines we are talking about after the catalogue is published until the final sale date?
CS: I normally start with the commercially successful stallions but place great emphasis on the dams that have visited those stallions. I’m a fan of duplicated bloodline nicking that some pedigree crosses can toss-up. The first five days of inspections are crazy for me it’s like sorting out a jigsaw puzzle and I have to remind myself of that every sale I attend, but, to be honest the horses I normally buy, find me and the ones I purchase off radar are horses I find crisscrossing the sale yards during inspections.
ED: Could you tell us how you got involved with horses? If was not for horses, what would have been the next best career for you?
CS: My father is the Hall of Fame Trainer, Neville Begg and from a very young age, whenever I visited his stable I was absolutely fascinated with these majestic animals, at the age of about 5, I was clueless about racing, however, whenever the opportunity arose, I just wanted to follow dad around the stables. My parents wonderfully took us to the races from a young age and my earliest memories are watching races opposite the winning post always cheering the ‘grey’ horses on whoever’s stable they were from (how ironic is that now, Classique Legend, is a ‘grey’:. I’ve been horse obsessed for 50 years, continuing to learn new things every day and never had any other thoughts about anything but a career that didn’t involve horses.
ED: The decade is almost over. In addition to winning The Everest, what is on your bucket list of things to do before 2030?
CS: I’m not really a bucket list person, I just look forward to each day and the challenges it can toss-up with horses no two days are the same. It is my desire to continue to be involved with horses until the day I drop and if I can mentor or encourage anyone along the way to be the best they can, then that will satisfy me.
Published In Everest Diaries (Vol 3.2) 2019
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