Peter Robl knows Ninth Legion well. He has ridden him for four wins, including a Villiers Stakes, and now he has prepared him for another two stakes wins in the twilight of his career after saluting in the Civic Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday.
"When I rode him he was a young slob and you always felt as if he was going to curl up underneath you," Robl said. "I knew how I used to ride him and wanted to tell Sam [Clipperton] that before the race. I don't want to give too many instructions but I always rode him positively. He is a cunning thing and I wanted Sam to know what I did on the old slob."
The clues to Ninth Legion included a set spurs and to keep him warm before the start and the other key were the blinkers. Ninth Legion had them on when he won the Eye Liner Stakes and again on Saturday.
Clipperton is not usually a jockey that uses spurs, but the request from the trainer was simple.
"I just told him to squeeze with his hands when he wanted to go and get the hooks into him," Robl said. "It is what worked for me and Sam did it perfectly."
Robl also told Clipperton to keep him on the move before the race, and get him out of his outside gate well. "The race couldn't have worked out any better," Clipperton said. "I did what you said behind the barrier, he jump and I was surprised how easily I got there [to outside the leader Oxford Poet]. He really gave a good kick in the straight. He's a good old horse."
Ninth Legion dashed clear and then held off a late challenge from Better Not Blue to score by long head with Vergara a length away third.
"It was good to have Pete's knowledge about him. He doesn't usually tell you too much but he told me ... when I went for him he would let go," Clipperton said.
"Everything he told me was right. He knows him very well."
Robl will probably look to the winter Stakes with Ninth Legion next at 1400m in a couple of weeks.
"He doesn't want much further than that these days," Robl said. "He's been a terrific horse to me as a jockey and now as a trainer. I won the Villiers on him and he's now won two black-type races for me as a trainer. He is going to do me wonders."
Favourite Marenostro was the disappointment of the race – after covering ground three-wide he dropped out to finish last.
Michelle Ritchie was delighted with the late charge of Better Not Blue, even though it came up just short. "I feel like we won," Ritchie said