Rejuvenated six year old Ninth Legion gave Sunshine Coast jockey Damian Browne back to back wins in the Listed $175,000 City Of Ipswich Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) at Ipswich last Saturday.
Browne makes an annual visit to the Bundamba race course on Ipswich Cup Day and last year won the Eye Liner Stakes on Victorian trainer Wez Hunter’s sprinter Smokin’ Joey.
He also wrapped up the day with a feature double when he scored an easy win on Maurus in the Listed $175,000 Channel 7 Ipswich Cup (2150m).
Winning trainer Peter Robl had set Ninth Legion for the Eye Liner Stakes at the start of his campaign and with the blinkers going on, he was very confident that the Fastnet Rock gelding had a great chance of returning to the winner’s stall even though the soft track wasn’t his best surface.
“But we decided to set him for the Eye Liner Stakes and gave him two lead-up runs on unsuitable tracks. We came here looking for a dry track and I was a bit worried when it went down to a soft five,” Robl said.
“However, we had blinkers back on him and a top jockey in Damian (Browne) which proved a winning formula. It is a nice when a long term plan comes off.”
“Good jockeys get good horses through bad ground and that’s what Damian did.”
“Realistically he’s at Listed grade and we’ll keep him there rather than go to Group 3 races.”
Robl is considering running Ninth Legion in the Listed $175,000 HMR Projects Pty Ltd Glasshouse Handicap (1400m) at the Sunshine Coast in a fortnight.
Ninth Legion had two lead up runs going into the Eye Liner Stakes for a first up tenth to Clearly Innocent in the Listed $140,000 Yarraman Park – Horsepower Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) at Scone on May 14 followed by a seventh to Marenostro in a Rosehill 1400m Handicap on June 4.
The six year old had been tested in tougher Group company while under the care of The Hawkes Racing Team with his best result being a win in the 2013 Group 2 $175,000 Villiers Stakes (1550m) on the Kensington track at Randwick.
Browne said that Ninth Legion didn’t feel comfortable travelling on the soft ground in the early and middle stages of the Eye Liner Stakes but once he was in the clear found his footing and stretched out nicely.
“He was floundering a bit when I was locked away on the fence but I was able to travel through,” Browne said.
“Once I got him into the open he was a different horse.”
Ninth Legion has now won seven times from forty-two starts and has earned over $922,000 in prizemoney.