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Central Districts raider The Night Hawk will enjoy a massive step down in class when starting in the second heat of the Forbury Park claimers series tonight.
The Scott Dickson-trained pacer battled with leading North Islanders On The Cards and Triple Eight before running into quality intermediate-grade horses Change Is Good and Storm Prince in his past two starts at Nelson.
The Night Hawk's drop in class stands out on paper - he is rated a massive 18 points higher than any of his opposition in tonight's 2200m event.
''You would think it would be a lot easier than racing in the country cup fields he has been racing in around [in the North Island] and Nelson,'' Dickson said.
''He should be pretty well placed there, I would think.''
The Night Hawk has worked his rating upward after racking eight wins this season.
Superstar pacer Turn It Up, with his nine wins, is the only horse in New Zealand who has won more races than the Central Districts pacer this season.
Dickson said The Night Hawk was probably not at his absolute peak after a long season of notching those wins.
However, he is still pleased with the horse's condition going into tonight's race.
''He is probably not as good as he was over summer when he was racing [well].
''But in saying that he went a two-minute mile rate at Nelson and then ran home in 56sec, so he is not going to have to run that time.''
The Night Hawk could not get into his last start in the Nelson Winter Cup, when forced to chase a hot pace from his 30m back mark.
The winner, Storm Prince, won in a slick 2.00.9sec mile rate for the 3000m feature.
The Paul Court-trained pacer clocked his last 800m at 56.4sec.
The Night Hawk will be making a homecoming of sorts at Forbury Park tonight.
And it could be permanent.
The pacer won three races for trainers Syd Breen and Tony Stratford on the Southland and Otago circuit before going to Dickson's Hunterville stable.
The Night Hawk could stay in his former home patch if a keen buyer takes up the $10,000 claiming option on the horse tonight.
If he is not claimed, the horse would continue to race in further heats of the Forbury Park Claiming Series for Dickson, the trainer said.
The Night Hawk is not the only horse who faces a big drop in class in tonight's second heat.
Ideal Breeze comes into the event after racing in quality intermediate-grade fields in Southland that have included U May Cullect, Born To Boogie and Mongolian Cavalry.
Although Ideal Breeze went a fair race behind Mongolian Cavalry at Ascot Park in his most recent start, the Des Baynes-trained pacer mare had one of his main rivals, Mr Handleman, well covered.