It may have only been a restricted benchmark race, but as wins go, Royal Celebration's victory at Randwick is particularly satisfying for his trainer Ron Quinton.
The three-year-old colt was sent out the $2.50 favourite in Saturday's Membership Handicap (1400m) after three frustrating seconds at his past three starts.
Royal Celebration's run of seconds began in May when he was beaten by The Autumn Sun who has gone on to win three Group One races, most recently the Caulfield Guineas.
This campaign, Royal Celebration has finished behind stakes performers Gem Song and Yulong January in his two starts before Saturday.
"It's lovely to win with him because sometimes when they run all those seconds they continue to do it," Quinton said.
"It's nice after the previous couple of runs when he's run into some good ones."
Ridden by Andrew Adkins, Royal Celebration held off Evalina ($4) by 1-1/4 lengths with Nicco Lad ($4.60) another 2-1/2 lengths.
Punters were spot-on with their assessment of the three-year-olds with the seven runners finishing in market order.
After a 30-year career as a jockey which brought many Group One wins and eight Sydney premierships, Quinton began a new phase as a trainer in the 1990s.
His first horse of note was Mamzelle Pedrille who won 11 races between 1994 and 1997.
"Royal Celebration has the same owners, the Gall family who owned Mamzelle Pedrille," Quinton said.
"She was the first yearling in my stable when I started so it's good to see this horse win for them."
Quinton is not sure where he will go next with Royal Celebration.
"He has had a couple of hard runs now and he's still no a fully mature three-year-old colt," he said.
"I don't know what to do. If there is another similar race in a couple of weeks we will look at it but he is going to be much better in the autumn."
Royal Celebration has now won twice and has four seconds from his six starts.
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