Kerrin McEvoy has made the decision to forgo the mount on Classique Legend in the Hong Kong Sprint due to ongoing uncertainty over international travel.
The top jockey has been the horse’s regular rider in Australia and was given first right of refusal to partner The Everest winner in the rich sprint race on December 13.
However, the three-time Melbourne Cup winning jockey confirmed on Wednesday he had relinquished the ride.
“With the uncertainty on travel back to Australia, I’ve decided to forgo my ride on Classique Legend in Hong Kong next Sunday,” McEvoy said.
Local jockey Vincent Ho has been on standby to replace McEvoy and is expected to take the mount.
Ho partnered the sprinter to third in a Sha Tin barrier trial on Tuesday, his first public appearance for new trainer Caspar Fownes.
Fownes was reserved in his assessment of Classique Legend’s trial effort, admitting he faces a tough task to produce the horse for another peak performance at the International meeting.
“Everything has been a rush, it hasn’t been ideal,” Fownes said.
“I know everyone is watching from around the world and they think it’s easy. It doesn’t work like that.
“But all excuses aside, if he is the best and even if I present him at 85 to 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.”
Trained in Australia by Les Bridge, Classique Legend entered quarantine after winning The Everest in October and has been in Hong Kong for just over three weeks.
Fownes will continue to monitor the five-year-old in the lead up to the race on Sunday week and if he is not completely satisfied with him, the trainer indicated Classique Legend won’t run.
“I’ll always do the right thing. If I’m not happy, I’ll do what it takes. The horse always comes first,” Fownes said.
“The owner is very good and I’ll be speaking to him and at this stage it’s all systems go and we’ll just make sure he pulls up well.”
Classique Legend is raced by Hong Kong businessman Bon Ho who is keen to campaign him in sprint races around the globe.