Boasting outstanding form lines around Group-class horses, including retired star The Autumn Sun, Royal Celebration will begin his career resurrection at Randwick after 12 months on the sidelines.
Trainer Ron Quinton was preparing the horse for a rematch with The Autumn Sun in last year’s Hobartville Stakes when he suffered a setback ruling him out of the autumn and spring.
“From memory I had him in the Hobartville Stakes and we had to scratch him and that was it,” Quinton said.
“He had a couple of little issues and we just had to give him some time off.
“We’ve given him plenty of time. He’s had a lovely long foundation for his preparation and a couple of trials, so Saturday is a starting off point.”
Royal Celebration returns in the Hyland Race Colours Handicap (1200m) on Saturday, his first start since finishing fifth to Fiesta in the Inglis Sprint at Warwick Farm last February.
Before that he had notched back-to-back city wins as a spring three-year-old, having shown earlier promise with placings behind The Autumn Sun and subsequent Group winner Gem Song.
With Quinton’s stable stars Dixie Blossoms and Daysee Doom now retired and in foal to Exceed And Excel, Royal Celebration might just emerge as the trainer’s latest carnival flag bearer.
But Quinton admits to reservations about his return on Saturday, despite the four-year-old’s handy fresh record.
“He has been off the scene for quite a while so they’d probably be a bit sharp for him at 1200,” he said.
“He is pretty fit but when they’ve been off 12 months they can just be lacking in match practice a bit.
“But he is a lovely horse. He’s a pleasure to deal with, he’s got a great attitude about him.”
Royal Celebration will face a handy field which includes in-form pair Lashes and Embracer along with Chris Waller-trained three-year-old Reloaded who was Group One-placed in the J J Atkins as a juvenile.