Royal Celebration could be in line for a dramatic jump in class to the Group One JJ Atkins Stakes in Brisbane after breaking his maiden at Warwick Farm.
Trainer Ron Quinton lodged a nomination last week for the two-year-old feature at Doomben on June 9, and attempting that ambitious goal gathered some momentum through the #Theraces Plate (1200m).
One of only two juveniles introduced by Quinton this season, Royal Celebration defied bookmakers by nosing out Whiteley ($41) in a photo finish.
Wagner, the $2.30 favourite, was a long neck third.
Royal Celebration was second on debut at Hawkesbury on April 17 and displayed the improvement Quinton predicted to get off the mark for Ray and Brett Gall, the owners of stallion I Am Invincible.
“The JJ Atkins might be a bit quick for him but he’s got a bit of ability. We’ll give him another run here and see where we go,” Quinton said.
Quinton was surprised Royal Celebration jumped as a $15 chance after his encouraging first-up run behind Invictus Salute at Hawkesbury.
“I knew he probably couldn’t win at Hawkesbury because he didn’t know his craft well enough and he ran super,” Quinton said.
“I was amazed at what sort of price he was, I nearly went back to being a punter,” Quinton said.
Jockey Andrew Adkins predicted a bright future for Royal Celebration as he continues to mature.
“I had to leave it a little bit late because he took a little bit to balance up and he’s still learning is trade. He’s got lengths up his sleeve.”
Gerald Ryan believes he has a potential stayer on his hands after two-year-old filly I Like It Easy was another first-time winner in the TAB.com.au Plate (1200m).
“In the mounting yard she walks around like a 2000 metre horse, not a 1200-metre horse. She could develop into a handy staying type filly later on,” he said.
I Like It Easy ($13) scored by three-quarters of a length from Voila ($9). Colombina ($6) was a head third.