When Les Bridge picked up a son of Dundeel at the yearling sales, he thought he’d found himself a potential Spring Champion Stakes horse, maybe even a Derby aspirant.
Instead, Celestial Legend is proving to be a little more precocious.
While Bridge still expects the two-year-old to flourish when he gets out in trip, Celestial Legend has shown he possesses a turn of speed as well, backing up two handy barrier trial performances with an eye-catching second to $3 million colt Kandinsky Abstract on debut at Canterbury.
“He’s by Dundeel, he’s got a great pedigree for a mile-and-a-quarter,” Bridge said.
“I bought him thinking he’d make a nice stayer, so I’m surprised he is sprinting so good.”
A $220,000 Inglis Classic purchase, Celestial Legend will have his next start in Saturday’s Schweppes Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill where Bridge is anticipating another competitive showing.
So are punters with the colt a $3.20 favourite in early markets, and while Bridge originally brought Celestial Legend into work with the sole purpose of laying some foundations for the future, the Hall of Fame trainer could send him back to the spelling paddock with the bonus of a Saturday metropolitan win.
“He’ll run well. He will probably go out for a spell after that, we’re not going to overdo him at two,” Bridge said.
“He’s just in to have a bit of education and then go out.”
With his boutique numbers, Bridge doesn’t have many two-year-old runners these days – Celestial Legend was just his second of the season – however, the octogenarian knows a thing or two about training juveniles and won the 1983 Golden Slipper winner Sir Dapper.
When asked if he enjoyed the unique challenge of educating a young horse at the starting point of its career, Bridge was typically laconic.
“I don’t care, as long as they can run,” he quipped.
“I can train them for any distance, Golden Slippers, Melbourne Cups. It makes no difference to me.”
Indeed he can, and Celestial Legend might just prove it again on Saturday.
– RAS NewsWire