SPECIAL BOND: Gayle Masterson gives Knight Sprite a hug at their Hexham home this week. Masterson hopes Knight Sprite can give her a maiden group race win as a trainer on Friday night. Picture: Marina NeilGAYLE Masterson knew before she was supposed to that Knight Sprite was something special.
Now the hobby trainer from Hexham is hoping the black dog can go from special talent to a group-winning performer in the Gosford Cup on Friday night.
Knight Sprite was a $3.50 chancein the group 2 feature with the NSW TAB on Thursday after a scorching 29.40-second win in his heat on Sunday night. Richmond Vale trainer Jason Mackay’s Smart Missile was a $2.90 chance from box two.While premier Hunter Valley trainerMackay is no stranger to group success, Masterson, 64, is enjoying a dream run with Knight Sprite.
A three-year-old in February, Knight Sprite has 20 wins and 14 placings in 44 starts for Masterson, who knew nothing of the sport before meetingWayne Masterson and marrying into a greyhound racing family35 years ago.Now a trainer for 20 years, Gayle had success with Shotgun Kid locally a decade ago but nothing like the ride she is on with Knight Sprite. And it was a run she saw coming early.
“I was telling everyone from the time we brought him home, when he was about three months old, I said hewas really special,” Masterson said.“Everyone said, ‘you can’t tell yet’, but I said, ‘you wait and see’.
“I had bred a couple of litters and I was going country with them, which I enjoy very much, but it certainly makes you appreciate when you get a good dog like him.”
Knight Sprite’s success has included an impressive record at Gosford, where he won his four of five starts.
“He loves Gosford.First start therehe was second, and his second start he ran 29.46 and his next two he ran 29.51, so he’s always been around that mark, so it was no surprise,” Masterson said of the heat run.
She said thedraw in seven for the finalwas a bonus for Knight Sprite, who has won four of six starts from the box.
“He comes good out of any box, but I think in the field that he’s in, I’d like him out wide because he can do his own thing out there.”
She said Knight Spritewas coming back from a toe injury and underdonewhen fourthin the group 3 Christmas Giftthis month but“hopefully it’s his turn” at the elite level on Friday night.