Verry Elleegant takes out the Caulfield Cup as Classique Legend wins The Everest at Royal Randwick
Classique Legend has won the richest race in Australia, the $15 million The Everest at Royal Randwick, while Verry Elleegant was victorious in the Group One Caulfield Cup.
Trained by Les Bridge, the grey Classique Legend picked up the $6.2 million winner's cheque, with jockey Kerrin McEvoy winning the big race for a third time, ahead of Bivouac in second place and Gytrash in third.
Nature Strip and Eduardo led the race early, and the placings stayed the same into the straight, with Eduardo holding the lead inside the 300m before McEvoy moved Classique Legend to the front, to kick clear and win easily.
This gave the 81-year-old Bridge another big win to add to his 1987 Melbourne Cup victory with Kensei.
The slot holder for Classique Legend's place in the field was the horse's owner Bon Ho.
Bivouac, trained by James Cummings for Godolphin, came through for second place, worth $2.3 million. Gytrash, with Jason Collett on board, rounded out the placings to win $1.4 million for connections and slot holder Inglis.
"I've been telling everyone for three months [it would win]," Bridge told Channel Seven after the race.
"One of my greatest friends was Persy Sykes who I spent a lot of time with. He said it is all in the genes. Some horses just get all the good genes.
"I'm just repeating his words. This horse, he has a girth on him that deep and he just has a big V8 motor. It is unbelievable."
McEvoy said Classique Legend had a big job to do in a race that was run at a breakneck speed.
"I looked up at the 600 [metres] and they were well in front, they were off," he said.
"I thought, 'Far out, if Nature Strip and the companions are back to their best they are going to take a bit of running down.'
"Full credit to my horse. With that cover and soft time of it early, he was able to really power when I asked him. Soon after I was confident I would pick them up."
In Melbourne, Chris Waller trained his first winner of the Caulfield Cup, as Verry Elleegant held off a fast-finishing Anthony Van Dyck to win the $5 million race, with The Chosen One in third.
Anthony Van Dyck came into the race with a big reputation as a winner of the English Derby.
The Aidan O'Brien-trained thoroughbred came rattling down the outside in the straight to challenge Verry Elleegant, who had hit the front ahead of The Chosen One with 250 to go.
In winning the first leg of the Melbourne spring carnival's historic Cups double, Verry Elleegant will be one of the favourites to win the Melbourne Cup on November 3.