Hawthorne has draw and claim
Lightning has already struck twice for Hawthorne over the Happy Valley 1,000m lately and trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fai has done his utmost to see if he can make it happen again in the Victoria Racing Club Trophy tonight.
Yiu has called on 10-pound claimer Alvin Ng Ka-chun to beat the handicapper and effectively nullify the re-handicap that Hawthorne has received for the latest of those wins.
Off a mark of 67, he had a three-pound claim for Terry Wong Chi-wai when he won on January 4 over Good Boy Boy, then Wong was aboard again when Hawthorne again held on to beat Flashing Guy on January 18 off a rating of 73.
The handicapper reacted by lifting Hawthorne to a mark of 79, but that is effectively down to 69 with the claim for Ng - or only five points higher than his first winning rating and less than the last one.
Paul O'Sullivan has countered by claiming on Good Boy Boy with Vincent Ho Chak-yiu, but the key for Hawthorne is in the draw.
When he met Good Boy Boy last time, O'Sullivan's sprinter had Zac Purton and gate two, while Hawthorne was in the three gate. Now, swapping the superior skills of Purton for Ho's claim, Good Boy Boy also swaps a low gate for a wider draw. Hawthorne has barrier four and looks drawn to again be the first horse to the fence unless Charity Spirit (Purton) kicks up early.
From that position leading on the rail, Hawthorne has proved too tough to get past at his latest outings and he could do again, though it looks competitive.
Good Boy Boy, Flashing Guy (Brett Prebble) and Danewin Winning (Matthew Chadwick) all look solid rivals, though punters should be wary of improvement from Charity Spirit at his second run for Danny Shum Chap-shing.
The grey looked primed for a big showing down the straight at his last outing for the new yard, but raced in the badlands over near the centre of the track from his low draw, and never got into the race.