First season sire Ghibellines is on the board with his first winner coming at Wingatui on Friday.
The John and Karen Parsons-trained El Gladiador showed good speed to sit off the leader over the 820 metres and fought bravely to hold off some strong late finishers.
The gelding is the fourth runner for his sire who retired to the South Island's White Robe Lodge after a career in Australia which saw his best result a win the Gr.2 Todman Stakes as a two year-old.
Racing in the Godolphin colours, he also ran placings in the Listed Canonbury Stakes a two year-old and Danehill Stakes as a three year-old.
El Gladiador is the sixth foal of Querella, a four-time winner by Haafiz that has also left the stakes placed Querer (Captain Rio).
Ghibellines stands at White Robe Lodge on a fee of $5,000.