Former champion hoop turned trainer Peter Robl is confident his galloper Ninth Legion is fit enough to keep the wins coming this weekend in the 2016 Winter Stakes at Rosehill.
Robl’s in-form son of Fastnet Rock has won his past two starts on the trot and is out to extend the success to three straight in Saturday’s $150,000 Listed Winter Stakes (1400m).
The six-year-old gelding has an impressive record at the distance of six wins, four seconds and a third from 16 starts over 1350m – 1400m and posted his second Rosehill win at the track last time out.
After a trip to Queensland on June 18 winning the Listed Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) by a length at Ipswich, Ninth Legion returned home to Sydney on July 2 and narrowly held off the fast finishing Better Not Blue in the Listed Civic Stakes (1350m).
On the weekend the Michelle Ritchie-trained Civic Stakes runner-up Better Not Blue is on the 54kg minimum once again looking to turn the tables on his last start conqueror.
Ninth Legion meanwhile rises a kilo carrying Saturday’s 60kg top weight, but Robl remains confident in the horse’s class and ability to handle the weight.
“He’s a [Group 2] Villiers [Stakes] winner and he’s fitter than the last time he ran,” he told AAP, speaking of a race he rode the horse to victory in back in 2013.
Robl was forced out of the saddle and into the training ranks after suffering a career ending neck injury during a Scone race fall back in 2014.
A multiple Group 1 winning jockey, he is now enjoying a different kind of track success but admits to missing the feel of being aboard the horses.
“I miss it every day,” he said.
“[But] I’m not complaining for a second.”
After achieving the rare feat of both riding and training the same horse for a stakes victory when Ninth Legion saluted in the Eye Liner Stakes, Robl continued his fortune with the Civic Stakes his maiden Sydney stakes win.
“I’ve been around a long time so I knew what I was in for,” he said.
“I rode for a lot of Sydney’s leading stables and learnt a lot from them.”
To date the Segenhoe Thoroughbreds-owned Ninth Legion has won eight of his 43 career starts for $982,400 in prize money.
The galloper will hit over $1 million in earnings if he is able to take out Saturday’s $90,000 Winter Stakes winner’s check.
Robl is also keen to target the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival riches in the coming months with Ninth Legion who will be stretched out the mile including possibly the $500,000 Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 10.
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