The wins of Victory Code and Hawkes Bay at Sha Tin last Saturday were significant because the prevailing conditions did not allow either horse to perform to his best. David Hall is the trainer for both these consistent young gallopers and the upside to each performance is that the horses will only get better once the tracks soften. Victory Code, a handsome black son of the underrated Mr Prospector stallion Faltaat, has now raced seven times. After taking a while to understand his job, the penny has now well and truly dropped and he has won three of his past four starts. However, taking a line through what he had been doing in his earlier wins, Victory Code should - in theory, at least - have put these horses away a little more easily. The hard ground seems to be the answer to the riddle. Here, as it had been at the Champions Mile meeting six days earlier, the track condition was a legitimate good-to-firm, and racing on such ground is not necessarily ideal for all horses. Victory code did not seem to be stretching right out for Brett Prebble and it was only the persistence of the Australian rider to make him do it that gained the result. It was nearly an identical scenario with Hawkes Bay in the final event. The progressive four-year-old, like many British private purchases, would undoubtedly be more comfortable racing on a track that was more forgiving and didn't seem to fully let down in the straight. There's no doubt the John Size-trained Rely On Me lost his winning chance when he failed to negotiate the wide barrier (13). In what was one chapter of a horror day for his rider, Douglas Whyte, Rely On Me was left posted wide despite the best efforts of his jockey and that early expenditure of energy cost him dearly in the final 200 metres. Size was able to come up trumps when Bumper Bumper took out the ATV Cup and it was interesting to note that the gelding returned new personal-best figures in knocking out the consistent My Choice. Size is a master of effecting incremental improvement in the racehorse and the key for Bumper Bumper here was the back-up, with the gelding having raced just six days earlier. When everything else is equal, race fitness can be the foundation on which victory is built. Hall deserves full marks for what he's achieved with My Choice, too. Although he failed by a short head to peg back Bumper Bumper, and arguably should have won, the Voklsraad gelding went to a new level of performance even in defeat. What made it all the more admirable was that he was racing at 1,600m, a distance over which he had previously failed. Lucky Baby showed he is a sprinter destined for better things with a hard-fought win in the Class Four over the straight 1,000m. The youngster showed plenty of steel when Always Giggle came at him over the final stages to take his record to two wins from two starts, and the promise of much more to come. HORSES TO FOLLOW: Lucky Baby, Victory Code, Hawkes Bay.