KNIGHT Sprite will be aiming to break through for the first feature success of his career when he contests the Group 3 John Stollery Memorial Xmas Gift (520 metres) on Saturday night.
Trained by Gayle Masterson, Knight Sprite, $4.60 with Sportsbet, qualified for the $25,000-to-the-winner final courtesy of a dominant 30.05 victory last week.
Stepping from box four, Knight Sprite was able to find the early lead and was too nippy in the run to the line, kicking clear to defeat the classy Are Jip by five-and-one-quarter lengths.
Masterson said she was very happy with the win at what was Knight Sprite’s first start in over a month after injuring his toe when winning at The Gardens in early November.
“The break was probably what he needed and I knew the night before his race last week that he was keen to go because he ripped his bed up,” Masterson said.
“I was a bit worried heading into the heats that he was a bit underdone, especially when I saw Are Jip only a couple behind him coming around the home turn – but once he got into the straight he took off.
“He didn’t jump as well as he normally does in his heat but I think it had a lot to do with him being overexcited to be back racing at Wenty – I think he will be fine this week and will be a bit more settled down.”
Knight Sprite will exit box five up against a handy field including La Grand Logie (box two), Let It Develop (box three) and Are Jip (box four), with Masterson expecting a good showing from her kennel star.
“There is not a huge amount of pace in the race, but now that I have said that one of them will probably come out of the pack and go really quick early,” Masterson quipped.
“As long as he does his best I will be happy – he regularly runs around 29.80 at Wentworth Park and you know that in doing that he will be around the money more times than not – he is very consistent and that is all you can ask of him.”
The son of Magic Sprite and Jaydo’s Neglect has been a terrific money spinner for Masterson, winning 19 races from 41 starts with over $50,000 in career earnings.
Masterson said it would be a huge thrill to take out the final which would be the first Group win for both herself and Knight Sprite.
“It would be so exciting if he happened to win it – it would be a great Christmas present and I would be celebrating for a while that’s for sure.
“I’m not counting my chickens before they hatch – I will just put him in and tell him to do his best and as long as he comes home safe that is all that matters.”