Day At The Track

Bonds and Brown proving an irresistible force

03:14 AM 30 May 2012 NZST
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Lombo Pocket Watch, the son of Jet Laag Greg Bond with his co
Lombo Pocket Watch, the son of Jet Laag - who has won 45 of his 81 starts and $1,519,438.
Greg Bond with his co - training wife, Skye.

Forrestdale trainers Greg and Skye Bond and Banjup driver Colin Brown are proving an irresistible force in Western Australia harness racing and they should combine to win the feature event, the $20,500 RSM Bird Cameron Pace, at Gloucester Park on Friday night with rejuvenated star Lombo Pocket Watch.

And the Bonds have high hopes of landing the quinella with their second string Eastwood Fire, who will be driven by Kim Prentice.

The stablemates fared extremely well in the random barrier draw, with Eastwood Fire drawing the No. 2 barrier on the front line and Lombo Pocket Watch the No. 3 barrier.

Lombo Pocket Watch bounced back to top form last Friday night when he gave a commanding performance to win the Castellorizian Centenary Cup to give the pace-setting Bonds their hundredth winner of the 2011-12 season.

The star training team continued its stellar form with a double at Gloucester Park last Saturday night and another double at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Two years ago Greg and Skye Bond trained separately when Brown drove Money Twitch to a 2m victory over Pablito in the Bird Cameron Pace. Skye trained the winner and Greg was the trainer of Pablito, driven by Michael George.

Eight-year-old Lombo Pocket Watch was a 20/1 outsider last Friday night when he recorded his 45th victory from 81 starts. He began from the back line and impressed in sustaining a powerful burst from ninth in the middle stages and fourth at the bell to hit the front 100m from the post before winning by a neck from Lombo Navigator over 2506m.

Eastwood Fire contested the same event and caught the eye with a splendid effort at his first appearance after a spell. He met with severe interference in the first lap and dropped back to last before finishing strongly from 11th at the bell to be sixth.

Eastwood Fire is a speedy and versatile pacer who has won 17 times from 81 starts. He is a smart frontrunner who can also unwind a spirited finishing burst when held up for a late run.

Lombo Pocket Watch has revealed good early speed in his current campaign and twice in April he charged to an early lead from barrier five and went on to win, over 2100m and 2506m.

Eastwood Fire has generally shown superior gate speed to Davy Maguire, the polemarker on Friday night, and Prentice appears likely to make a bid for the early lead. If Eastwood Fire gets to the front soon after the mobile sends the field of ten on its way over the 2100m journey Prentice will more than likely face a challenge from Lombo Pocket Watch.

Whether Prentice surrenders the lead is problematical.

Prentice is due for a change of fortune in the Bird Cameron Pace after having been placed three times in this event in the past six years. He was third with Jailbird in 2006, second with Future Assets in 2008 and third with Spirit of Shard in 2010.

Leading city trainer Gary Hall sen. trained Future Assets and Spirit of Shard. He has won the Bird Cameron Pace with Washakie (2008) and Dartmoor (2009) when they were driven by his son, Gary Hall jun.

Hall sen. holds a strong hand again in this year’s event with Davy Maguire and Arnoux. Davy Maguire has won at each of his past three starts and is in peak form, while Arnoux is unbeaten at his first two starts in Western Australia.

Veteran Has The Answers won this event 12 months ago when the race was decided over 2506m. Morgan Woodley dashed Has The Answers to the front from barrier five and the gelding set the pace and beat Flamin Tact and Fast Play. Woodley again will be in the sulky behind the Tony Svilicich-trained Has The Answers this week. He will start from the outside barrier (No. 3) on the back line and cannot be underestimated.

The Chris Brew-trained Therecomesatime will have admirers from barrier two on the back line. The six-year-old finished powerfully to win over 2100m in successive claiming races early in May before he sat behind the pacemaker Has The Answers and fought on gamely when second to that pacer over 1700m last Friday week.

Eleven-year-old Tartary Gladiator, brilliant winner of three races at Gloucester Park early this season, will return to racing after an absence of five months. Owner-trainer Kevin Keys has engaged Brad Stampalia to drive the gelding for the first time in a race.

FAVOURABLE BARRIER GIVES MIDNIGHT DYLAN THE EDGE OVER LITTLE BOY BLUE

New Zealand-bred three-year-old Midnight Dylan ran an outstanding trial for the Quayside Transport Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he gave a bold frontrunning display to score an effortless victory over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon.

The son of Mach Three, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, led from barrier one at Pinjarra and was not extended in winning by three lengths from 5/4 favourite Little Boy Blue, who started from the outside of the back line and did a tremendous job to finish powerfully from 11th at the bell. Midnight Dylan sped over the final 400m in 27.8sec. to give his rivals very little hope of overhauling him.

Midnight Dylan, with regular driver Colin Brown in the sulky, has drawn nicely at barrier three on the front line on Friday night which should give him a considerable advantage over Little Boy Blue.

Little Boy Blue, trained at Byford by Peter Tilbrook, will start from the outside barrier (No. 7) on the front line and will need all the breaks to turn the tables on Midnight Dylan. However, Little Boy Blue certainly does not face an impossible task.

He is racing with tremendous spirit and has won at two of his past four starts, finishing strongly on both occasions after covering a lot of extra ground. He boasts an excellent record of six wins and six placings from 16 starts.

Recent winners Black Aquila, Soho Indianapolis and Danilejohn share the back, line and are all capable of producing a spirited finishing burst.

Black Aquila, trained by Gary Hall sen., notched his fourth win when he thundered home, three wide, from seventh at the bell to win from smart newcomer Fantastyx over 2100m at Gloucester Park last Saturday night.

Soho Indianapolis is racing keenly for Byford trainer-reinsman Kade Howson. He had a very tough run and covered a lot of extra ground when fourth behind Van West on Thursday of last week. He also had to work very hard before scoring an easy victory at Northam at his previous outing.

That followed strong seconds to Red Salute at Bunbury and Reuben Brogden at Gloucester Park.

Danieljohn resumed after a spell in fine style at Harvey on Thursday of last week when he raced wide in the middle stages and then without cover before winning narrowly from Nic Nak Nero over 2150m.

SHANNON SUVALJKO THE NEW TRAINER OF THE SPEEDY OCTAVIAN

Speedy pacer Octavian has changed stables and is now being prepared at Serpentine by Shannon Suvaljko and he should take beating at his return to racing when he contests the RH Trotter and Company Pace over 1700m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Octavian, a New Zealand-bred six-year-old, is favourably drawn at barrier two on the front line and Suvaljko is sure to be keen to send the gelding to an early lead.

Octavian has not appeared since he set the pace and wilted to fourth behind Motoringwiththebest over 2100m at Gloucester Park on March 31. He was driven by Chris Brew when he led from the No. 1 barrier and went on to win in good style over 2100m at his two previous starts.

He was trained for those three starts by Brad Groves, who took over from part-owner and trainer Aldo Cortopassi, who drove the gelding to an all-the-way victory over 2506m at Gloucester Park in April of last year when making his Australian debut after winning five times in New Zealand.

Octavian, who has had only 25 starts for eight wins and three placings, will clash with several smart pacers, including polemarker and stylish last-start winner Life Boat, Dashing Christian, Taiaha, Zacs Nuggett, Trojan Bromac, Old McDonald and Cometao.

Callan Suvaljko will resume as Life Boat’s reinsman after Kyle Harper drove the six-year-old to victory in Young Drivers Pathway Pace last Friday night when the gelding started from the No. 5 barrier and raced three wide for the first 500m before getting to the front 100m later. Life Boat relished his frontrunning role and impressed when he sprinted the final 800m in 57.3sec. and rated 1.59.8 over 2506m.

Life Boat also is a brilliant sprinter who will be well suited over the 1700m of Friday night’s event. Earlier this year he won in 1.58.8 over 1609m at Bunbury and set the pace and won easily at a 1.56.5 rate over 1670m at Pinjarra.

Dashing Christian, a newcomer to the stables of leading city trainer Gary Hall sen., has had 33 starts for nine wins and 12 placings and looks set to fight out the finish. He won once in New Zealand and seven times in New South Wales.

His first three starts in WA have produced a powerful first-up win over Anvils Big Punt, a fast-finishing close third to Itsallabout Nicole and Conrod Black and a close second to terrifying at Gloucester Park last Saturday night.

Taiaha impressed with his last-start effort, a fast-finishing victory over Soldier Boy at Gloucester Park, Zacs Nuggett is in fine form, with his past eight starts producing two wins, five placings and a fourth, and Trojan Bromac, Old McDonald and Cometao are all capable of figuring in the finish.

by Ken CASELLAS

Lombo Pocket Watch's last start win at Gloucester Park last Saturday night (May 25, 2012):

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