Doyle to Partner Ninth Legion in Festival Stakes

Trainer Peter Robl is confident that James Doyle could be the difference in success, when the British hoop partners Ninth Legion in Saturday’s Group 3 Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens.

Ninth Legion will be partnered by James Doyle in Saturday's Festival Stakes. Photo: Steve Hart

Ninth Legion will be partnered by James Doyle in Saturday’s Festival Stakes. Photo: Steve Hart

Ninth Legion has undoubtedly been the stable star for Robl since he began training full-time earlier this year, and the seven-year-old was back to his best during a strong winter preparation which heralded wins in each of the Listed Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) and Listed Civic Stakes (1300m); two of Robl’s first stakes wins as a trainer.

Having resumed this time for fifth in the Listed Tattersall’s Lightning (1100m) on October 15th, the Fastnet Rock gelding progressed to sixth in the Group 3 L’oreal Paris Stakes (1400m) before fading late for eighth in the November Handicap (1400m) last time out.

Confident that the travelling Godolphin hoop’s style will suit Ninth Legion, Robl told AAP he also believes the conditions of the race could mean the difference in a return to winning form in the Saturday feature race.

“He’s got a few tricks the old boy,” Robl told AAP.

“He doesn’t like to be pushed and pulled.

“James is a very, very good rider and I’m trying to look for an edge with him. I’m sure he’ll ride him well,

“He is an older horse and he got to the furlong and said ‘it’s a bit hard for me today’.

“But he certainly pulled up in good order. He drops to a more suitable weight albeit in a more competitive race on Saturday.

“If he gets the right run in transit and the room he requires then he’ll certainly be able to run a big race.”

Ninth Legion began his career under the guidance of Anthony Cummings in 2012; passing through the care of Team Hawkes before arriving at Robl’s Randwick base at the conclusion of his 2015 campaign.

Robl revealed that if he is to perform to expectation in the Festival Stakes, Ninth Legion will be set for the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Randwick in a fortnight; a race that Robl incredibly partnered the now seven-year-old to success in during the late stages of 2013.

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