Six year old Ninth Legion will be chasing a hat trick of wins when he lines in the Listed $150,000 Winter Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Ninth Legion was able to win a stakes race for trainer Peter Robl when he took out the Listed $175,000 City Of Ipswich Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) at Ipswich on June 18 and then made it two in a row with a win in the Listed $100,000 Civic Stakes (1350m) at Rosehill on July 2.
Even though Ninth Legion will be having his fifth start this preparation, Robl said that the gelding will strip fitter this week at Rosehill.
“He’s a Villiers winner and he’s fitter than the last time he ran,” Robl told AAP.
Ninth Legion has only been under the eye of fledging trainer Robl since January but when conditioned by Team Hawkes, the Fastnet Rock gelding was a consistent performer at Group level with his best win being the 2013 Group 2 $175,000 Villiers Stakes (1550m) on the Kensington track at Randwick.
Team Hawkes also tested Ninth Legion out at Group 1 level with his best results being a fourth to He’s Your Man in the 2014 Group 1 $500,000 The Star Epsom (1600m) at Randwick and a fourth to Lucky Hussler in the 2015 Group 1 $400,000 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield.
Sam Clipperton was aboard Ninth Legion when he beat Better Not Blue in the Civic Stakes and the young jockey has retained the mount this week.
Ninth Legion has plenty of work to do to rack up his third win on the trot after drawing barrier nine in the ten horse field and with 60kg on his back will meet Better Not Blue 1kg worse at the weights.
The Michelle Ritchie trained Better Not Blue is nearing a win following his close second to Ninth Legion in the Civic Stakes and apprentice Taylor Marshall will stick with the four year old who will jump from gate seven.
Snippet’s Land is also in contention to return to the winner’s stall for co-trainers Peter and Paul Snowden and will meet Ninth Legion 1.5kg better after finishing fourth to him in the Civic Stakes.
Brenton Avdulla takes over from Blake Shinn on Snippet’s Land who has drawn midfield at barrier five.
In a congested market order for the Winter Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au, Ninth Legion at $4.20 holds a slight advantage over Better Not Blue at $4.40 ahead of Snippet’s Land at $6.50 and Tales Of Grimm, Marenostro and Oxford Poet all at $7.
Winter Stakes market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.20 Ninth Legion, $4.40 Better Not Blue, $6.50 Snippet’s Land, $7 Tales Of Grimm, Marenostro, Oxford Poet, $14 Shadow Lord, $17 Wouldn’t It Be Nice, $21 Hidden Warrior, $26 Zin Zan Eddie.