Doyle to ride Ninth Legion in G3 Festival

Godolphin jockey James Doyle can hit the ground running with a maiden Australian stakes win aboard the Peter Robl-trained Ninth Legion in the Group Three Festival Stakes.

Doyle arrived in Sydney on Monday to begin a stint replacing retained rider James McDonald who is on the sidelines pending the outcome of a stewards inquiry into a betting charge.

Godolphin put the English jockey straight to work, sending him to Randwick to ride in seven barrier trials on Tuesday morning and he won two on Raiment and Ennui.

Robl, a former Group One winning jockey, said Ninth Legion would suit Doyle’s style in Saturday’s race over 1500m at Rosehill.

“He’s got a few tricks the old boy,” Robl told AAP.

“He doesn’t like to be pushed and pulled.

“James is a very, very good rider and I’m trying to look for an edge with him. I’m sure he’ll ride him well.”

Ninth Legion is likely to push on to the Group Two Villiers Stakes at Randwick on December 17, a race which Robl won on him as a jockey in 2013.

Robl made history with Ninth Legion earlier in the year by winning two Listed races to achieve the rare feat of both riding and training a horse to victory in stakes races.

Doyle may have to compete against his new boss if trainer John O’Shea accepts with the dual-nominated Duca Valentinois for the Festival.

Duca Valentinois will carry 54kg if she runs in the race while Doyle rides at a minimum 55kg making the 58.5kg allocated to Ninth Legion no problem.

Ninth Legion beat home two runners in open company over 1400m at Rosehill on November 19 with Robl admitting the 62kg burden was a telling factor in his performance.

“He is an older horse and he got to the furlong and said ‘it’s a bit hard for me today’,” Robl said.

“But he certainly pulled up in good order. He drops to a more suitable weight albeit in a more competitive race on Saturday.

“If he gets the right run in transit and the room he requires then he’ll certainly be able to run a big race.”

Doyle is set to have his first ride during his Australian secondment for Godolphin on Miami Dade at Canterbury on Wednesday.

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