Episode 273: Les Bridge


Manage episode 283871929 series 2379704
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Great to catch up with 83 year old Les Bridge who has maintained an amazing winning strike rate throughout his long career. Les found an unattended TV monitor to watch the running of the TAB Everest by himself.

He talks of the circumstances that brought Classique Legend into his stable and the short but spectacular racing career of the horse he rates the best he’s ever trained.

Les says he knew he’d be losing the horse after The Everest but will now concentrate on other horses in his stable owned by Bon Ho.

The veteran horseman talks of his family’s friendship with the legendary broadcaster Ken Howard who died in 1976. He remembers spending many days in Ken’s broadcast box in the days before commentators were allowed on course.

Les goes back to his days as an apprentice jockey. He rode a few winners but didn’t rate himself at all as a race rider. He does recall two well known horses he got to ride.

He talks of the flying start he made as a professional trainer. At first he seemed to have a stableful of stayers but that all changed when Sir Dapper came along.

Les reflects on the deeds of the wonderful Sir Dapper who won 13 from only 18 starts. He also gave the trainer his first Gr 1 victory. He was sorry to see the son of Vain retire to stud very early.

Les got back to training stayers when Kensei came out of the blue. Carefully managed and beautifully placed the son of Blarney Kiss peaked on the day to win the 1987 Melbourne Cup with Larry Olsen up. Les shares his memories of a great journey with Kensei.

He remembers a lightly framed, plain looking little horse called Drawn who belied his looks to win three Gr 1’s.

Many will be surprised to learn that Hot Danish is the trainer’s all time favourite horse. Les gives his reasons.

Les has used the services of several top class jockeys over the years. He pays tribute to some of them.

He talks of the tragic loss of his wife Peggy six years ago.

The great horseman speaks of his health scare last year when hospitalised with gangrenous appendix.

This is one for those racing fans who’ve been around for a while.

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