The most unkindest cut of all has resulted in Fastnet Rock gelding Ninth Legion starting to show the potential he showed during his juvenile season.
Purchased at the 2009 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale from the draft of Edinglassie Stud, Ninth Legion races in the famed "red, yellow seams and cap" colours of Segenhoe Stud.
A winner of his first two career starts, Ninth Legion travelled to Queensland and finished fifth in the Group One TJ Smith Stakes behind Sizzling, Kabayan, Academus and Toydini, with the beaten brigade including the now Group One winners Choice Bro and Boban.
Resuming for this three-year-old season, Ninth Legion had form around Pierro, All Too Hard, Epaulette Shamexpress and Your Song, but was always a length or so off top class.
A change of trainer, and even a change in environment, saw Ninth Legion head to Melbourne and win on the Sandown Hillside track before heading back to Sydney to finish second to Toydini at Group Two level in the Phar Lap Stakes.
A fair debut run this campaign was backed up with an excellent effort at Hawkesbury, going down in a photo finish to Lonhro gelding Tromso in the Listed Ladies Day Cup before heading to Rosehill on Saturday to record a half-length victory over a stakes class field in the Cellarbrations Wadalba Handicap (1350m), his fourth from 16 starts.
The victory impressed connections with the gelding now being aimed at the Group Two Villiers Stakes in December over the famous Randwick mile.
Co-trainer Michael Hawkes said he would have no concerns about Ninth Legion handling the 1600 metres of the Villiers, a win in which earns exemption to the $3 million Doncaster Mile in April.
"Now that he's a gelding he has learned to be a racehorse," Hawkes said.
"This was his third run this preparation and his third as a gelding.
"His last race he got beaten by a nostril and it was a great run.
"It's upwards from here."
Segenhoe Stud would like to congratulate all at Hawkes Racing, jockey Peter Robl and all the Segenhoe team for their involvement in getting Ninth Legion back into the winners circle.
Images supplied by Bradley Photos