Day At The Track

Can Lombo Pocket Watch bounce back?

01:06 AM 06 Nov 2009 NZDT
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Yearlings by Lombo Pocket Watch
Yearlings by Lombo Pocket Watch - will be represented at the South Australian Premier Sale.
Gloucester Park

Trainer Paul Fitzpatrick will play his final trump card with former harness racing juvenile star Lombo Pocket Watch on Friday night at Harold Park.

The "grey bullet" disappointed the stable when he failed to place in last week's Brian Hancock Cup and Fitzpatrick will try a gear change in the hope of revitalising the stallion's racing career. The headcheck will be removed and the block winkers will be added in an attempt to switch the six year old on.

"We have decided to try a couple of gear changes. He raced in block winkers as a young horse and performed well so we are hoping a few things might get him going this week" Fitzpatrick said.

"There is nothing wrong with the horse, he is fine within himself but it may just be the wrong time of the year for him with all of the fillies and mares around."

Lombo Pocket Watch was retired to stud earlier in his career but returned to the racetrack after standing only one season. According to Fitzpatrick the current form of Lombo Pocket Watch could be a result of his time away from the races.

"My property is surrounded by stud farms and it is springtime so there is no doubt that his mind could be on other things. It has never been a big problem throughout his career but I have just seen some changes in the last month with him and he has had a taste of being at stud."

"A few months ago he looked sensational but in the last month or so he has lightened off a little bit. That is no excuse for his performance last week but in saying that he wasn't the only horse to perform below his best in the Brian Hancock Cup. Considering the sectionals they ran the only horse that went well was Johnny El Gringo."

The owner of Lombo Pocket Watch, Mick Lombardo made the decision to bring the stallion back to the track and Fitzpatrick is keen to repay him with a good result.

"It is a very awkward time at the moment. Mick made the commitment to give him another season of racing and with the breeding season all ready in full swing it doesn 't make sense to pull the pin just yet. "

"We can only take one step at a time at the moment but I am hoping that he runs a better race this week and then we will concentrate on taking him to the Newcastle Mile on Saturday week and the Miracle Mile is on later in the month if his form warrants it."

Fitzpatrick has indicated that he will target the Newcastle Mile with last Friday night's impressive winner Saucy Legend. Driven by Ashlee Siejka, the five year old proved too strong for his rivals and looked to have plenty in reserve.

"Ideally Saucy Legend likes to have a fortnight between his races so after last week we can give him a fortnight to Newcastle and then he can have another two weeks before he steps out in the Bohemia Crystal Free-For-All on Miracle Mile day."

"After that I would like to give him a spell and bring him back for the Inter Dominion."

The stable has dismissed the idea it could have three runners in the feature at Newcastle with Fitzpatrick suggesting former New South Wales Derby winner Make Me Smile will not make the trip north from Cawdor.

"At this stage Smiley (Make Me Smile) won't go to Newcastle. He is slowly getting back to his best. Blake (driver) was a bit disappointed with him last week because Johnny El Gringo got out from underneath him and ran past him."

"To be fair he has won the majority of his races from in front and he is best suited when he can find the top. "

Lombo Pocket Watch and Make Me Smile will compete in race four at Harold Park on Friday night. The Adam Wechsler Pace is due to begin at 8:30pm.

Special Albert back and ready for Newcastle Mile

Last year's Newcastle Mile winner Special Albert will resume from a spell on Friday night at Harold Park in preparation for Saturday week's Newcastle Mile. The 1:54.0 winner worked his way into the Miracle Mile twelve months ago as a result of the victory, however trainer Bill Dawson is unsure of whether the son of Albert Albert is as forward as he was this time last year.

Special Albert has trialled twice in the lead-up to Friday night and Dawson believes his stable star could be short of a run.

"He is a bit underdone" Dawson said.

"He won both trials and proved too strong for Comet Prince in one of them but the biggest problem I face with a horse of his class is that there are no more easy races. You have to go straight into the deep end even when he is probably a run short."

Dawson is hoping that Special Albert gains enough benefit from Friday's night run to defend his Newcastle Mile crown.

"He was rock hard fit this time last year and had plenty of runs under his belt but this year he will be just second up from a spell. The plan is to start him two weeks in a row so I don't want him to be gassed this week."

" He suffered a quarter crack at Menangle last time in and I tried to patch him up to get him over it but in the end I had to spell him and give it time to grow out. He is completely over the injury now and my long term plan is the Inter Dominion next year here in New South Wales."

Special Albert hasn't started since June 28 when he finished 7th behind Lombo Pocket Watch in the Joe Ilsley Cup at Menangle. The horse was beaten 22 metres. The gelding has won 35 of his 70 starts and won more than $320,000 in prizemoney.

Alison ZAMMIT

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