Master Eight has operated with a minimum of fuss during a brilliant start to his career and jockey Joao Moreira doesn’t expect that to change in Saturday’s Group Three Bauhinia Sprint Trophy (1,000m) at Sha Tin.
Master Eight went straight to the front on his way to victory in his first three runs over six furlongs before stepping back in trip to 1,000m for his first Class Two assignment on November 21.
But despite being forced to work his way across the field from gate one and take a trail behind Nervous Witness – who started $1.9 compared to Master Eight’s $2.2 – the result was the same as the Frankie Lor Fu-chuen-trained four-year-old steamed to a fourth straight win.
“So far he hasn’t done anything wrong and he’s proving to be a good horse. I just hope that he can keep repeating what he’s been doing,” Moreira said.
“He didn’t begin very well [last start]. He can jump better than what he did last time. He was probably not sitting well in the gate, but he still managed to get himself with them.
“He was travelling very comfortably even though it was the first time he was running over the straight line. When I did ask him at the finish, he just ran away.”
Master Eight has a more favourable gate this time around – barrier five of eight – but Moreira could well see himself taking a sit again with the likes of Computer Patch and Sight Success in the race.
“I don’t think I see him doing anything differently from the past – he will just keep hitting the line very strongly,” the Brazilian said.
“The horse is in great shape. His condition is very good. I really hope he can continue to hold that form and I believe he’s going to be very competitive.”
Master Eight has rocketed 43 points up the ratings in his short career and carries 118 pounds in his first Group test, which sees him lock horns with seasoned campaigner Computer Patch – who finished sixth in the Hong Kong Sprint last start – and the in-form Super Wealthy.
The David Hayes-trained Super Wealthy is undefeated at the course and distance this season and has saluted at Group Three level already this campaign, but the six-year-old finds himself with an extra 16 pounds on his back than when he won the National Day Cup.
Meanwhile, the careers of a couple of Group Two winners came to an end over the festive period, with Wishful Thinker and Rattan heading off into retirement.
Wishful Thinker started his career with Richard Gibson before completing it with Dennis Yip Chor-hong, with the highlight of his 43 Hong Kong starts coming with his victory in the 2020 Premier Bowl.
The Gibson-trained Rattan, who finished eighth in the 2018 Derby, hit a purple patch late in the 2018-19 season, winning the Group Two Sprint Cup (1,200m) before finishing a half-length second to Beat The Clock in the Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize.
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