Minister for ‘McKenna Magic’

By GRV’s Peter Quilty

Can Hector Fawley – named after a character from the ‘Harry Potter Compendium’ – conjure some ‘hermetics’ in a heat of the Group 2 McKenna Memorial (595m) at Sandown Park on Thursday night.

Trained by Lisa Cockerell, the middle-distance ‘magician’ will contest Heat 1 (Race 7, 8.19pm).

Two weeks ago, he was runner-up to Moraine Suzie in the Pink Diamond Champion Distance final (680m) at Warragul.

Hector Fawley (Box 5) is unbeaten in three starts over 595m at SP, including a spellbinding 33.64sec display on April 20 this year. It was just over a length outside the 33.56sec track record set by Collinda Patty on August 15, 2021.

Last month’s G3 Racecallers Showdown (595m) winner, Hector Fawley is Sportsbet’s $2.40 favourite ahead of Jarick Bale (Box 1) at $3.40.

Indeed, Hector Fawley (11 from 27) will need to produce some sorcery of sorts to ultimately claim next week’s $55,000 McKenna Memorial first prize.

Because out to stymie his powers are ‘Team Delbridge’ (Mark and Lisa) who are chasing a third McKenna Memorial in four years, having scored with dual winner Christo Bale (2021/2022). They also saluted with Flash Of Light in 2010.

They are represented in the heats by Jarick Bale (sixth to Stout Monelli in last year’s final), along with Valor Bale (Box 4) and Ailee Bale (Box 7) in Heat 2 (Race 8, 8.40pm).

Valor Bale and Ailee Bale are $3.40EF and $4.40 respectively, with Jason Thompson’s Triumph (Box 8) the other equal favourite.

Tom Dailly also has strength of numbers in the series. He’ll rug seven heat aspirants, with his best chances appearing to be Lornett Express (Box 4) and Fabs Vegetable (Box 3) in Heat 1, and Trending Zari (Box 2) and Belle Violin (Box 6) in Heat 2.


WATCH: HECTOR FAWLEY (B1) defeats NSW star PUNTER’S BANDIT (B3) in the Racecallers Showdown (595m) at Sandown Park on May 26.