Master Fay to have his day

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 January, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 January, 2001, 12:00am

Master Fay can gain due reward for some consistently fine efforts by taking this afternoon's sixth event on a Sha Tin card which features not only the fantastic Fairy King Prawn in the Stewards' Cup but also a fabulous $36 million Triple Trio jackpot.

Fairy King Prawn is unlikely to start at backable odds and with the other form fancies, New Trumps and Electronic Unicorn, likely to be to the fore, the Stewards' Cup is probably going to be a race to savour than on which to wager.

But Master Fay appeals as worth a solid win bet, and for Triple Trio devotees he could also be worth taking as a banker in the final leg of the world's best bet.

Master Fay's last two efforts have been particularly commendable. Most recently he ran a highly creditable third to Lucky Six and Meridian Star over the Sha Tin 1,400 metres, which is probably farther than ideal for this son of Fayruz. And prior to that he put in a huge effort when a head second to Kenwood Melody in the traditional New Year's Day feature event, the Chinese Club Challenge Cup. What made that run so good is that they went lickety-split in front with Prime Witness leading on the rails, Master Fay disputing the lead on his outside and the pair of them being taken on out wider by Expedient, who chimed in round the bottom bend in this Sha Tin 1,200-metre contest.

Not surprisingly, Expedient dropped out to finish last of the 12 runners, having had a torrid trip throughout, and Prime Witness eventually ran ninth. But Master Fay had the strength to keep battling and was only caught close home by Kenwood Melody, who found the helter-skelter pace very much to his liking. Master Fay was entitled to drop out and finish unplaced given the way the race panned out. The fact he didn't points to his excellent current condition and perhaps his very best run since arriving from England last season has been down this afternoon's straight 1,000-metre chute. That came earlier this season when Master Fay ran a short-head second to none other than Charming City down the straight track, and a measure of the strength of that form is that he was running from a mark four pounds out of the handicap yet still had the likes of Crystal Charm, Prime Witness and Plenty-Plenty, who all ran in the Hong Kong Sprint, back in third, fourth and fifth.

On that form Master Fay also has nothing to fear from Triple Expresso, who was some 3.5 lengths away in seventh and now finds himself a pound worse off by dint of the ratings rise he incurred following a strong Happy Valley win over 1,200 metres.

Handbag Dragon is another who likes the straight 1,000-metre chute and he merits respect as he's had excuses since winning over course and distance two starts ago. He was a shade unlucky not to make it back-to-back wins when slightly hampered and then trapped off the track at Happy Valley last time. He's worth taking in one solid quinella with Master Fay.

Ivan Allan introduces Epic Express, who was a talented sort in England last summer but much more a staying type. He could need the run but is well worth watching for the future as he does appeal as a talented individual.

Elsewhere on the card, the fourth event could chiefly concern Namjong Spirit, Red Devil and One Step Ahead. They will probably dominate the market but a triangle quinella should get the money. They may even run the tierce. Of the three, preference is for Namjong Spirit as he could get a much softer run in front than last time when poorly ridden by the stable apprentice. Felix Coetzee now takes over and his presence should make a world of difference to this trackwork star who was unlucky not to win first up and then ran into two likely sorts in Puccini and Frat Rat last time.