Can Masterton’s Knight in shining armour fulfil her Derby dream?

GAYLE Masterson is hoping her star performer Knight Sprite can continue his brilliant run of form when he lines up in Friday night’s Group 2 Richmond Derby (535m).

The son of Magic Sprite and Jaydo’s Neglect has won six of his last 10 starts including a sensational 30.40 heat victory last week, the quickest of the four qualifiers.

Masterson admitted she was shocked to see Knight Sprite clock such a slick time, but says she thought he would perform well.

“I got a surprise with the time he went, I didn’t know he could go quite that fast,” Masterson told Australian Racing Greyhound.

“I knew that he liked Richmond, he had raced there over the 535 prior to his heat and had gone well, and I also knew that he is much stronger than the last time he was there.”

Knight Sprite will have to overcome box four in this week’s $36,000-to-the-winner final, but bookmakers aren’t taking any chances, with Bet365 installing him as the $1.70 favourite.

Only two other runners are under the double figure mark, with 30.71 heat winner Brad Hill Billy (box three) currently $5, while Opus Forte (box one) is rated an $8 shot from the favourable draw.

Masterson concedes her black speedster will have to do everything right to land his second group success, having taken out the Group 2 Gosford Gold Cup (515m) in January, but says he is feeling well ahead of the feature.

“He is feeling good going into the race, he had a trial on Tuesday morning and he went really well, so we are very happy with him,” she said.

“Realistically he has got to step well to win, but his first section is normally very good so hopefully he can jump well and find the front.”

A win would continue the fairytale ride Knight Sprite has taken Masterson on throughout his 49 start career, having won 23 races with 16 minor placings with over $100,000 in prize money earnings.

Amazingly, Knight Sprite was Gayle’s first ever city winner in more than 30 years as a trainer, with the Hunter Valley mentor stunned as to how much he has achieved throughout his career to date.

“Each time I ask for him to step a little bit more he seems to be able to do it, he is going really good.

“It would be a massive thrill to win it.

“I was actually at Richmond a couple of years ago and I had a little bitch in the race after the derby.

“I remember watching the presentation before my race and thinking about how nice it would be to have a runner in the final.

“Now, here we are.”

The Group 2 Richmond Derby is race eight on the card this Friday night and is set to jump at 9:38pm AEDT.

Watch Knight Sprite (7) taking out his heat of the Group 2 Richmond Derby.

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