By her own admission Joanne Forrest is a low-profile trainer who prefers to sneak under the public glare, but at Kalgoorlie this season she has been propelled into the spotlight.

Forrest prepares exciting Blackfriars colt Dark Royalty who has made a brilliant start to his racing career and is the early leader in Kalgoorlie Horse of the Year honours.

Dark Royalty has won three of his first four races including the past two for Forrest after spending a short time with Pat Bermingham Jnr when Forrest was overseas.

“He has surprised everyone but no more than me,” said Forrest.

“I can’t believe how well he is going and it’s giving me a great thrill.

“He is not much to look at but continues to surprise.

“I’m just a hobby trainer and it’s the horse who deserves all the attention.”

The only low spot for Dark Royalty in an otherwise flawless campaign was his sole defeat to Kim Dynasty when he finished a distant last.

There may have been genuine reasons for his failure and blotted a fairy-tale beginning, but it’s a loss that continues to rankle Forrest.

“It was disappointing but he just didn’t handle the conditions,” said Forrest.

“We had a heap of rain on the morning of the race and he wasn’t suited.

“That’s the only explanation I can come up with because if you take that away he has been almost perfect.

“It would have been nice if he could have kept a Black Caviar-type record.”

Dark Royalty takes another step in his development when he tackles a field of 13 rivals the Aquila Mining Handicap (1400m) on Sunday.

Forrest said the exciting four-year-old is in good order after thundering home to defeat Crown Saga by a close margin last fortnight.

“That was a huge run with 59.5kg and from a wide draw,” said Forrest.

“This is another test for him and a little harder.

“I don’t like to pump up my horses but he is working well.”

Dark Royalty drops 1.5kg on his last-start victory. He has drawn barrier 10 for Shaun Meeres.

A winning hat trick will ultimately raise expectations for Dark Royalty, but Forrest refused to be drawn on future plans.

“I will see how he pulls up on Monday but he could headed for a spell,” said Forrest.

“I will take each race as it comes without getting too far ahead of myself.

“Racing in Perth is not even a consideration at this point.”


Julio Santarelli