Sunshine Coast jockey Damian Browne enjoyed a winning stakes double on Ipswich Cup Day over the weekend backing up from his success in the day’s marquee race with an Eye Liner Stakes 2016 victory on Ninth Legion.
Browne visited Ipswich Racecourse for the first time in three years last season and enjoyed a treble of winning rides on Cup Day 12 months ago.
He returned this Queensland Winter Racing Carnival and again came up trumps.
His first win of the day was aboard the David Vandyke-trained Maurus in the $175,000 Listed Ipswich Cup (2150m), a galloper he’s likely to return to the saddle of in a fortnight for a shot at the 2016 Caloundra Cup at his home track.
Then next race Browne enjoyed back-to-back victories in the $175,000 Listed City Of Ipswich Eye Liner Stakes (1350m), a race he won aboard Smokin’ Joey (2015) 12 months ago as well as in 2011 on Adnocan.
This year Browne’s victory was on the back of Fastnet Rock six-year-old Ninth Legion, prepared by former champion hoop turned trainer Peter Robl.
“I don’t get to Ipswich often but I have been having luck here. I better book in for next year already,” Browne joked on the weekend.
On the line Ninth Legion ($8), who came off a last place effort over 1400m in the mud at Rosehill from the start of the month and enjoyed having blinkers added to his gear on Saturday, had a full length to spare over the Liam Birchley-trained Beckham ($8) who had an easy lead and fought on well to finish second.
Pat Duff’s veteran eight-year-old Steel Zip ($7.50) finished off the trifecta in third, a brave effort after the unsuitably slow pace of the race, in his first run since February to please his Deagon-based trainer.
It was Robl’s second stakes success as a trainer, and also the horse’s first success since the 2013 Villiers Stakes over 500 days previous.
“They say winning is a habit, but sometimes with these old horses losing is habit. I was a bit worried he [Ninth Legion] was getting that way,” Robl, who only secured his training licence in December last year, told AAP post-win on Saturday.
“But we decided to set him for the Eye Liner Stakes and gave him two lead-up runs on unsuitable tracks. We came here looking for a dry track and I was a bit worried when it went down to a soft five.
“However, we had blinkers back on him and a top jockey in Damian which proved a winning formula.
“It is a nice when a long term plan comes off.”
Like this year’s Ipswich Cup winner, Ninth Legion is eyeing a run at the Sunshine Coast on Caloundra Cup Day, July 2.
He will target the $175,000 Listed Glasshouse Handicap (1400m) and Robl hopes Browne will be willing to retain the ride at his home track in a fortnight.
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2016 Eye Liner Stakes Results
Ipswich Race 7 – 18/06/2016
|1||1||NINTH LEGION||Peter Robl||Damian Browne||–||3||59kg||$8|
|2||10||BECKHAM (NZ)||Liam Birchley||Ms Tegan Harrison||1L||11||54kg||$8|
|3||2||STEEL ZIP||Pat Duff||Jeff Lloyd||3L||2||58.5kg||$7.50|
|4||4||PILLAR OF CREATION||Tony Sears||Brad Pengelly||3.5L||8||55.5kg||$7|
|5||8||DAPH ’N’ ALF||Cassandra Marsh||Ms Bridget Grylls (a)||3.7L||9||54kg||$17|
|6||11||ROYAL OCCASION||Matthew Dunn||Robbie Fradd||4.2L||7||54kg||$7|
|7||7||TRUBIA||Michael Lakey||Michael Cahill||4.4L||1||54kg||$2.80F|
|8||13||OLD HABITS||Kurt Goldman||Ms Heather Poland||4.5L||4||54kg||$51|
|9||6||TIMELESS PRINCE||Tony Newing||Matthew Bennett||7L||6||54kg||$9|
|10||9||TIME TO PLUNDER||Liam Birchley||Jim Byrne||7.5L||10||54kg||$17|
|11||12||ABU BEN ADAM||Pat Duff||Paul Hammersley||17L||5||54kg||$61|
|–||5||CHOICE BRO||Tony Sears||James Orman (a)||–||0||–||–|
|–||3||SALUTER||Robert Heathcote||Brad Stewart||–||0||–||–|