HEXHAM owner-trainer Gayle Materson is confident Sprite Knight will improve on his “first look” at Dapto and break through for a maiden Group 1 success on Thursday.
The black dog has draw box four in the $75,000 to-the-winner Dapto Megastar (520m).
Knight Sprite has been freshened up after a scrap with his sister in the yard and has come back in top order
“We had a little incident between him and his sister, which gave me a chance to give him a spell,” Materson said.
“She picked on him but it was nothing serious. He has had a few runs up at Redhead and trialed well at Dapto last Thursday. “I took him down to have a look at the track and he hugged the rail all the way around. People at Dapto have no doubts that he will improve on his first run now he has had a look at the track.”
Short-priced favourite Ritza Lenny ($1.85) has drawn the inside box, but Materson believes Ollie, as he is affectionately known, has the speed to get to the front.
“He won the Richmond Derby from box four,” she said. “He had Brad Hill Billy on his tail and he still didn’t get beaten. Once he finds the lead he keeps going and doesn’t give in. His first sections are among the best. I was lucky that Magic Spring drew five. If it goes wide, like it normally does, he will have a clear run. He doesn’t crash to the rail, he runs straight until the turn.”
Knight Sprite ($5.50) won his last start at The Gardens over 515m on August 19 and has earned nearly $200,000 in prizemoney.
He was a runaway winner of the Group 2 Gosford Gold Cup (515m) on New Years Day, and backed up with a tight win in the Richmond Derby (535m) before third in the Group 1 Golden Easter Egg at Wentworth Park.
All that is missing is Group 1 success.
“He has been knocking on the door and deserves a Group 1,” Materson said. “He is eighth on the national point-score and four of those dogs have retired. If he goes well on Thursday, I’d say he will get an invitation to the [Group 1] Top Gun at The Meadows next month. The Melbourne Cup is in November.”