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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


SATURDAY: October 14, 2023: SHE was bred in the purple, had four trials in South Australia and was put on the market just over a year ago without racing.

Enter Hawkesbury husband and wife trainers Mitch and Desiree Kearney.

With a solitary bid of $600 online at the Inglis Digital sale in August last year, Forum One was theirs.

And at Newcastle today, at her 13th start, luck was on Team Kearney’s side when the five-year-old mare broke through in the Class 1/Maiden Plate (2300m), coincidentally at $13.

Ridden by Grant Buckley, Forum One made the running before being headed narrowly by odds-on favorite Warialda Warrior ($1.80) in the straight.

However, her bloodlines obviously kicked in and she fought back gamely to post her first success, earning $20,550, and boosting her overall prizemoney to just over $38,000.

Forum One scored by more than a length from Ten Downing Street ($5), with Warialda Warrior third.

“You know me; I’m always on the lookout for a bargain,” a delighted Desiree Kearney said afterwards.

“That’s the cheapest horse we have ever bought.

“I looked at her breeding and knew she had a good pedigree, and hadn’t been tried in a race even though she had trialled four times in late 2021 and early last year.

“Even though it was her 13th start for us today, she had run a couple of placings (in a similar race over the same distance at Newcastle in February, and then over 2125m in a Benchmark 68 Handicap at Goulburn at her previous start).

“We didn’t expect her to be at such good odds today in a small field.”

Forum One was sired by 2015 Royal Ascot Group 1 winner Free Eagle (Prince Of Wales Stakes, 2012m). The son of noted stallion High Chaparral raced only six times for three wins and as many placings.

Her dam Sherborne Alley, who raced only five times in New South Wales and wasn’t placed, was by the great staying influence Zabeel. Forum One is her last foal.

Desiree Kearney was especially pleased to share today’s victory with part-owners Mick Kelly and Jessie Kingston.

“Both Mick and Jessie are family friends,” she said. “Mick simply wanted to have a share in a horse and is having a lot of fun and Jessie is a good supporter of our stable, being involved in some other horses.”

Forum One was Team Kearney’s second win of the season, having also scored at Newcastle on August 29 with $61 roughie Mycah Leon, and today’s success was the Hawkesbury training base’s 40th since August 1.

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