Steve Richards and Steven King have combined for much bigger wins than the $120,000 Talindert Stakes, but few have moved them like today’s victory by Marcado, reports Racing Victoria. The Choisir gelding presented them with an overdue trip to the metropolitan winner’s stall after he made the perfect debut in the 1100-metre Listed event.

It was the first city winner for Melbourne Cup winner King, who only recently returned from a nine-month injury-enforced layoff, since December 2012 and Richards had not trained a winner in Melbourne since Playwright won at Flemington in May 2012.

That explains why Richards struggled to compose himself post-race.

“Sorry, I’m a bit emotional,” Richards said. “We’ve had a bad year...but we’ve put a lot of work into this horse. It’s been a tough 12 months.

“Our team of horses, we just didn’t have much there. A Lot of them went wrong, even horses that were bread-and-butter horses had mishaps and we really struggled.”

Richards is hoping Marcado, a $90,000 buy in New Zealand, can be the horse that can have he and King – who celebrated Group 1 success together when Rostova won the 2010 Robert Sangster Stakes in Adelaide – back as a feature-race player.

Richards, who trains around 15 horses, has effectively structured his training around Marcado.

“We sacrificed a hell of a lot for this horse,” he said. “I didn’t go to the sales, I sat at home and I couldn’t leave this horse even for four or five days to go to New Zealand.

“A couple of the guys wanted me to go but I said, ‘I’m not leaving this horse’. I couldn’t move away from him, I’ve lived with him seven days a week and we’ve pulled this off today.

“From day one he’s showed he’s got a little bit a motor there and we’ve just been patient. We were hoping we’d get it out of him as a two-year-old, but we knew whatever he does he’ll be better at three.”

Outstanding timing from King has enabled him to share in the Marcado experience. A foot injury kept him out from 21 April last year until 23 January, when he rode a winner at his first ride back – for Richards – but before he was even out of his moon boot Richards showed off Marcado to get him excited about his return.

“He did that and he always knew he had something there, but obviously you don’t know until you test it out,” King said.

“I’ve been back riding work for two-and-a-half months and I’ve been riding him every morning in work. That gives you an indication of what I think of the horse.”

Marcado justified the faith of King and Richards when, as an $11 chance, he turned in a strong front-running display to get home by three quarters of a length from Orujo ($6) with the heavily-backed favourite Lady Sharapova ($4 to $3.60) 1-3/4 lengths back third.

But while Richards is most excited about what Marcado will produce as a three-year-old, he will give him his shot at Group 2 juvenile victory in the $300,000 VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on 8 March.

That’s a race they combined to win with Rostova, who Richards revealed post-race was his previous two-year-old starter before Marcado.

“If he comes through this well we’ll come back here to the Sires’ Produce,” Richards said. “I think that’d be a nice race for him.

“But we’ll get over today first because he’s going to be a really good three-year-old this horse.”

Click here to view the full list of results for the Talindert Stakes or the rest of today's Black Caviar Lightning program