Star sprinter Classique Legend will remain in Australia to prepare for October’s The Everest after his flight to Hong Kong was delayed on the weekend.

Classique Legend, who is owned by Boniface Ho Ka-kui, was scheduled to arrive at Sha Tin on Sunday and join Caspar Fownes’ stable but the postponement of the shipment has thrown Ho’s plans into disarray.

Ho recently secured a slot in the mega-rich The Everest for three years and planned to bring Classique Legend to Hong Kong before returning for a second tilt at the race, which the horse finished sixth in last year.

Owner Boniface Ho (middle) celebrates a win with jockey Zac Purton and trainer Caspar Fownes.

“He had to take him off the shipment because he’s already been delayed twice, it’s just become a bit of a nightmare,” Fownes said.

“It’s impacted his programme, if he came in when he was supposed to come in he would have had a couple of nice races at the end of the season and then he would have targeted the [Class One] Chief Executive’s Cup (1,200m) on the first day of next season and then he would have gone back.”

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Whether Classique Legend makes it to Hong Kong at all is now in some question, with Jockey Club rules usually dictating that no horse aged five or over can be imported, however Fownes is hopeful officials will take the circumstances into account.

“We will try to bring the horse back in after The Everest even though he is turning five, hopefully the club will see the light and allow that to happen,” Fownes said.

“Our hands are tied, he’s too good a horse and it’s not fair to the owner and not fair to the horse and the right thing to do is leave him there and hopefully he will win The Everest.

“I’m sad for myself because I really thought the horse would have been massive for Hong Kong but hopefully he will go on and win The Everest and then we will see.”

Classique Legend was one of 15 horses supposed to arrive in Hong Kong on Sunday, however their flight from Australia was delayed because one of the other gallopers returned a testing irregularity.

The Jockey Club confirmed an inconclusive test led to the postponement, and that the test will need to be performed again before the shipment can be cleared to travel.