Master Eight has a long way to go if he is to fill the void left by the brilliant Mr Stunning in Frankie Lor’s stable, but this Sunday (3 April) the handler is hopeful the exciting four-year-old can take a step closer to fulfilling his early promise when he lines up in the HK$4.75 million G2 Sprint Cup (1200m) at Sha Tin.
Shaping as a potential top-liner with five wins from his first five starts, the chestnut turned heads at Sha Tin with a 1200m Class 4 course record (1m 08.40s) on debut; he then added another four wins in style, however, crushing defeat in the G1 Centenary Sprint Cup (1200m) followed before he went under again in Class 1 company earlier this month.
Perhaps the son of Oamaru Force – who has swiftly risen to a rating of 105 – needs more time to develop before making his mark on the big-time, nevertheless, Lor is holding faith in the gelding’s ability to delve deeper as he gears up for Sunday’s Sprint Cup test and a possible G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) tilt on FWD Champions Day (24 April).
“He’s entered for the Chairman’s Sprint Prize, so we’ll see on Sunday how he runs,” Lor said. “He’s still young and still learning; Joao’s (Moreira) on so that’s a big positive.”
Victorious in the G3 Bauhinia Sprint Trophy Handicap (1000m) earlier this year, Master Eight relished favourable conditions but this time he steps out under set weights against fierce opposition – assigned 123lb alongside Hot King Prawn and seven others including Lucky Patch and Super Wealthy, while Wellington, Sky Field and Stronger carry 128lb each.