IT MIGHT have been a shocking end to the week but Peter Robl is confident he can make up for it before taking an enforced Christmas break.
The veteran hoop was suspended for seven meetings on two counts of careless riding after losing a controversial protest on Marden to Kathy O’Hara on Scream Machine on Saturday.
“In more than 20 years of riding I can’t remember losing a race on protest, and to tell you the truth I didn’t think I would lose that one,” Robl said. “It was a bit of a shock but it had to happen eventually.”
Robl was to start his suspension after riding Assail for Clarry Conners in the Wyong Magic Millions on Thursday but he will be able to ride in Saturday’s Villiers Stakes at Warwick Farm.
“I spoke to my manager and he wasn’t happy with me [for getting suspended] and told me I had five or six [rides] on Saturday,” Robl said. “There are a couple there I shouldn’t have forgotten about.”
Robl contacted stewards on Sunday to change the starting date of the suspension so he could ride on Saturday, meaning his ban will now end on January 3.
Assail, which won her only start with Anthony Allen in the saddle at Warwick Farm in November, was one of four two-year-old barrier trial winners Robl rode on Friday.
“I wasn’t on her at her first start because they wanted to make a bird of it by taking on a claim on her,” Robl said. “She went outstanding in the trial and is ready to go on Thursday.
“She won that race at Warwick Farm leading but I sat her off them in the trial and she won as she liked. She is a little professional and has good gate speed, so it is quite exciting going to Wyong with her. It is going to be a hot field, so it will be a good guide to the Magic Millions next month.”
Another of Robl’s winners at the Warwick Farm trials, Trent’s Quest, will also head to Wyong. Robert Smerdon is sending Moonee Valley debut winner Calcutta, while Gai Waterhouse will start Certitude, a five-length winner at Rosehill at her only start, and David Payne could back up Saturday’s juvenile winner Regimental Pride.
The Magic Millions Wyong Classic is worth $200,000 and would add some Christmas joy to the Robl household, but he also gives himself a good chance of knocking off Saturday’s $250,000 Inglis Nursery on Sweet Kiss.
“It is one I would hate to miss,” Robl said. “Gary Nickson trains her, and she is a flying machine.
“I won on her at Newcastle by three lengths over 900 metres, and it could have been more. The horse she beat [Madame Fly] came out and won in town.
“She will make her own luck and will be very hard to beat in a restricted race like that.”
Robl will ride the Anthony Cummings-trained Shadows In The Sun in the Villiers. He was one of the many horses that never got a chance to get into the Festival Stakes, won by Malavio in a leader-dominated race.
The South Australian Derby winner will go into the Villiers third-up after flying home when well-backed resuming to run second behind Ollie Vollie.
“He is going just as well as he was first-up going into this race,” Robl said. “He is a horse that needs to get to the outside to show his best. He is an each-way hope in a race with plenty of chances.”
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