Dion Luciani’s best intentions went astray when Mustalk was beaten but he believes the bay gelding can atone in the Kalgoorlie Case And Drill Maiden (1300m) on Saturday.
The Perth trainer is looking to repay the faith of punters who confidently supported Mustalk into TAB favouritism at Kalgoorlie season-opening meeting a fortnight ago.
Luciani went into the meeting chock-full of confidence that Mustalk would shed his maiden status and if not for Dark Royalty his best laid plans would have been successful.
The pair made it a race in two down the home straight but it was Dark Royalty who prevailed by just under a length with a further 4 ½ lengths to third placegetter, Tinker Tailor.
Luciani conceded he felt deflated by the loss but says Dark Royalty, who was stepping out for his first official appearance under the care of Pat Bermingham Jnr, could be better than expected.
“I had a lot of confidence and thought my horse would be hard to beat but you have to give credit to Dark Royalty,” said Luciani.
“We had every chance to run him down and get over the top but he could be a little better than average.
“If you take him away we would have finished four lengths clear of our next rival and you would take that any day.
“He has come on well since, has held his form, his work has been good and in all reality he should be hard to beat.
“He owes me one.”
Mustalk, drawn ideally in barrier two, will carry 56kg with the claim of, Kate Witten.
The apprentice jockey also takes the reins on stablemate Money Trainer in the Goldfields Australian Maiden (1100m).
Luciani has displayed patience with the Rock Of Gibraltar three-year-old who visits the racetrack for his first official outing.
The gelding has had five trial hit outs including a runner up placing to Excuse Me Mak over 1000m at Belmont last month.
“His trial was pretty good and he ran through the line strongly,” said Luciani.
“He put a horse who has a placing at Northam and ran well at Ascot under a little pressure.
“I think he is hardened and forward enough to have a lengthy campaign.
“He is a slow maturing type who has been bothered by growing pains.
“On his trial I think he will be hard to beat in a Kalgoorlie maiden.”
Mustalk and Money Trainer will lead Luciani’s hopes in Kalgoorlie while at Ascot Black Cuban will fly the stable flag in the Group 3 Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m).
The son of Blackfriars ran an eye-catching second when on debut at Bunbury and Luciani is confident the colt is capable of causing a big upset in the feature.
RWWA: Julio Santarelli