Peter Robl doesn’t have to ride Ninth Legion to know he is fit enough to win three stakes races in a row.
But the saddle is where the jockey-turned-trainer would rather be when the horse runs in the Listed Winter Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday.
“I miss it every day,” Robl said.
Robl’s riding career came crashing to an end when he suffered a serious neck injury in a race fall at Scone in 2014.
Doctors told the multiple Group One winner it would be unsafe for him to ride a horse again.
But the pain of forced retirement is countered by training horses like Ninth Legion.
“I’m not complaining for a second,” Robl said.
Ninth Legion narrowly held out the fast-finishing Better Not Blue to win the 1350m Civic Stakes at Rosehill on July 2.
The pair will meet again in the Winter Stakes – this time over 1400m – where Better Not Blue is one kilogram better off in the weights.
But the extra weight and distance doesn’t worry Robl.
“He’s a Villiers winner and he’s fitter than the last time he ran,” Robl said.
Robl rode Ninth Legion to victory in the Group Two Villiers Stakes in December 2013.
When the gelding won the Listed Eye Liner Stakes at Ipswich on June 18, Robl became one of a rare few to have ridden and trained the same horse to stakes wins.
While Robl’s training career is in its infancy, he has three Listed wins in seven months and Ninth Legion gave him his first Sydney winner in the Civic Stakes.
“I’ve been around a long time so I knew what I was in for,” Robl says of his transition to training.
“I rode for a lot of Sydney’s leading stables and learnt a lot from them.”
Robl said the support of Ninth Legion’s owners, the Segenhoe group, had been crucial to his success.
A top-two finish in the Winter Stakes will take Ninth Legion’s career prize money past $1 million.
A Victorian spring awaits the rising seven-year-old who will be aimed at races up to 1600m.