The decision to return to Sydney with Ninth Legion provided the right result for trainer Peter Robl with the galloper winning the Civic Stakes 2016 at Rosehill Gardens on the weekend.
Originally Fastnet Rock six-year-old Ninth Legion was a dual acceptor across two states last Saturday.
Former champion jockey turned trainer Robl however opted to scratch the gelding from Queensland’s Listed Glasshouse Handicap (1400m) at the Sunshine Coast, subsequently won by the Kelly Doughty-trained Flamboyer.
Instead Ninth Legion returned home and lined-up with the 59kg top weight in the $100,000 Listed Civic Stakes (1350m).
The galloper came off a win with the same kilos at Ipswich on June 18 in the Listed Eye Liner Stakes (1350m).
Over the same distance he managed back-to-back winter Black-Type victories with hoop Sam Clipperton guiding Ninth Legion ($11) to a narrow neck win in the Civic Stakes over the Michelle Ritchie-trained Better Not Blue ($8.50).
Rounding out the Civic Stakes trifecta a length further back in third was returning mare Vergara ($6.50) in her first run for Gerald Ryan and her career swansong having now been retired to stud.
The Civic Stakes result certainly wasn’t a great one for the punters as the $4.20 equal favourites Oxford Poet and Marenostro could only manage to finish fifth and ninth respectively.
Robl was thrilled with the victory having a long history with the progressive Ninth Legion who he rode for four wins during his time in the saddle, including Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1500m) during the summer of 2013.
“When I rode him he was a young slob and you always felt as if he was going to curl up underneath you,” Robl told The Sydney Morning Herald post-win.
“I knew how I used to ride him and wanted to tell Sam [Clipperton] that before the race.
“I don’t want to give too many instructions but I always rode him positively. He is a cunning thing and I wanted Sam to know what I did on the old slob.”
Clipperton wore spurs to help keep Ninth Legion warm pre-race, something the hoop wasn’t used to, and the horse continued his good form donning the blinkers having also had them on in the Eye Liner Stakes.
“I just told him [Clipperton] to squeeze with his hands when he wanted to go and get the hooks into him,” Robl explained.
“It is what worked for me and Sam did it perfectly.”
As well as carting the top weight, Ninth Legion was also charged with the outside barrier nine draw in the Civic Stakes.
Neither proved problematic for the horse or Clipperton however, the jockey getting the winner across early from the wide alley.
“The race couldn’t have worked out any better,” Clipperton said.
“I did what you said behind the barrier, he jump and I was surprised how easily I got there [to outside the leader Oxford Poet].
“He really gave a good kick in the straight. He’s a good old horse.
“It was good to have Pete’s knowledge about him. He doesn’t usually tell you too much but he told me … when I went for him he would let go.
“Everything he told me was right. He knows him very well.”
Ninth Legion is now likely to back-up in the $100,000 Listed Winter Stakes (1400m) back at Rosehill on July 16.
“He doesn’t want much further than that these days,” Robl said.
“He’s been a terrific horse to me as a jockey and now as a trainer.
“I won the Villiers on him and he’s now won two Black-Type races for me as a trainer. He is going to do me wonders.”
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2016 Civic Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Rosehill Race 7 – 02/07/2016
|1||1||NINTH LEGION||Peter Robl||Sam Clipperton||–||9||59kg||$11|
|2||8||BETTER NOT BLUE||Michelle Ritchie||Taylor Marshall (a)||0.2L||7||54kg||$8.50|
|3||4||VERGARA||Gerald Ryan||Jason Collett||1.2L||5||55kg||$6.50|
|4||2||SNIPPETS LAND||Peter & Paul Snowden||Blake Shinn||1.3L||2||58kg||$5|
|5||7||OXFORD POET||Kim Waugh||Brenton Avdulla||1.4L||6||54kg||$4.20EF|
|6||9||MURVATE||Gordon Yorke||Tim Clark||1.6L||1||54kg||$91|
|7||6||WOULDNT IT BE NICE||Paul Perry||Christian Reith||2.7L||4||54kg||$17|
|8||5||OFFICE BEARER||Jason Coyle||Ms Kathy O’Hara||4.8L||3||54kg||$18|
|9||3||MARENOSTRO (NZ)||Chris Waller||Tye Angland||6.9L||8||55.5kg||$4.20EF|