When Peter Robl rode Ninth Legion to a winning debut at Canterbury five years ago, the jockey-turned-trainer never envisaged he would still have a connection to the durable gelding.
“He was a nice horse from the day he raced but I never thought he’d be racing as a rising eight-year-old, nor did I ever expect I’d be training him as a rising eight-year-old,” Robl said.
“It’s amazing the path our journeys take us on.”
Ninth Legion will have his 53rd start when he runs in Saturday’s Listed Winter Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill.
Robl’s most memorable moment riding Ninth Legion unfolded when they won the Group Two Villiers Stakes in December 2013.
Two years later Ninth Legion was among the first batch of horses he trained after he was transferred from Hawkes Racing by Robl’s major backer Segenhoe Stud.
“He’s been a terrific horse for me. I’ve won a Group Two on him and a trained him to win a couple of Listed races in the twilight of his career,” Robl said.”
Providing Rosehill remains in the good to soft range on Saturday, Ninth Legion and stablemate Centre Pivot will both line up in the feature race.
Robl is hoping predictions of fine weather from Thursday onwards are accurate because neither horse is suited by wet tracks.
Ninth Legion has only had one start this preparation and finished 12 lengths last on heavy ground in the Listed Winter Dash at Randwick on June 24, an outcome that didn’t surprise Robl.
“He’s done that on several occasions,” he said.
“The race before he won the Eye Liner (last year) he got beaten 14 lengths on a heavy at Rosehill.
“He’s a temperamental old bugger but if it’s a four or five on Saturday he’s good enough to be competitive.”
The Randwick was also confident six-year-old Centre Pivot could make amends for a disappointing ninth in the Listed Civic Stakes at Rosehill on July 1 if conditions allowed.
“He’s got no confidence on a slow track and he also lost a plate, which didn’t do him any favours,” Robl said.
“If the track is good, he’s the better of my two chances.”