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Fownes: Classique Legend is ‘Rusty’ Ahead of Hong Kong Debut

Trainer Caspar Fownes has poured cold water on those wanting to take the $1.80 about Classique Legend in his first run in Hong Kong on December 13.

Fownes has admitted that the 2020 The Everest winner is rusty, and that the preparation has been far from ideal for the superstar sprinter.

In further news, regular rider Kerrin McEvoy has confirmed he will not be taking the ride on Classique Legend, citing the lack of flights back to Australia and the possibility of spending Christmas in quarantine away from family as reasons for the decision.

The five-year-old had a trial at Sha Tin on Tuesday, finishing third with no real intent from jockey Vincent Ho.

“Obviously he’s a bit rusty and he hasn’t had an ideal prep as I have been saying – I’m just doing the best I possibly can considering the timeframe I have,” Fownes said.

“Everything has been a rush – it hasn’t been ideal. I know everyone is watching from around the world and they think it’s easy – it doesn’t work like that.

“The horse has to come in here, have a vaccination, he’s also been sedated for freeze-branding and he was only cantering at Werribee – I took no chances with him because I’m not there on the ground.

“But all excuses aside, if he is the best and even if I present him at 85-90 per cent, he should be good enough but like anything you just have to hope they come here and adapt as soon as possible.”

“The trial was acceptable – it’s the first time he has been down the straight and he just picked up nice, did his job – he came back nice and we’ll scope him and make sure everything is A1 over there,” Fownes said.

“I’m still learning about the horse – the preparation this horse has had, he’s come to me at the end of his prep, they built him up for the big grand swansong and they got the job done and I’ve just got to come in and try and pinch one more race before I freshen him up,” Fownes said.