Day At The Track

Lombardo excited about NZ Cup start

05:47 AM 16 Sep 2009 NZST
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Mick Lombardo
Mick Lombardo

Mick Lombardo has achieved many things in his 72 years - both on and off the racetrack, but the popular Western Australian harness racing owner has yet to line up a pacer in the New Zealand Cup. That could all change on October 10 if his $21 chance Lombo Pocket Watch takes his place in the field.

"He's nominated and it would be a dream come true for me to have a Cup starter, but it is all going to depend how gets through a couple of big $75,000 and $200,000 races in Queensland next month. He'd love that big Addington track," Lombardo said.

Lombo Pocket Watch is one of seven Australian-trained pacers who were nominated for the 106th edition of the $1 million Christchurch Casino Trotting Cup on Monday. The other half dozen are Blacks A Fake, Karloo Mick, Smoken Up, Be Good Johnny, Washakie, and Lombo Pocket Watch. Karloo Mick is definitely coming while the remainder will confirm their places following the Queensland Carnival.

Late nominations, which cost $16,875, close on November 3. Both Lombardo and harness racing trainers and officials on this side of the country believe it's looming as one of the strongest New Zealand Cups ever.

"This year the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club made a concerted effort to attract the highest quality Australian pacers to ensure that the profile of the New Zealand Trotting Cup as one of the world's great harness races is further enhanced," said Addington raceway chief executive Shane Gloury.

"We have a total of six Australian horses nominated that have collectively won 221 races and in excess of $8 million in stake money. We will be doing everything within our power to ensure that a strong Australian contingent makes the trip to Christchurch to do battle with the very best Kiwi pacers in New Zealand's greatest harness race," Gloury said.

If Lombo Pocket Watch does line up in the 3200m standing start event on the second Tuesday in November it will highlight a memorable comeback.

Last September Lombo Pocket Watch was retired to stud where he stood at Lombardo's Concorde Park at Shepparton in Victoria for a fee of $3000. However the son of Jet Laag was brought back into work this year and returned to racing with three wins in June followed by a second in a 4&5 Year-Old Championship at Albion Park in Brisbane.

"If he does come down there he will have to really be on his game. I wouldn't start him if I didn't think he was a winning chance. But he is good enough to win. All will be revealed in Queensland," Lombardo said.

The 6-year-old, who is trained by Paul Fitzpatrick, won five Group One races In his first season of racing as a two year old, and was voted the overall 2006 Australian Harness Horse of the Year, the first two year old to win the award.[2]

As a three year old, he won another five Group One races including three of the prestigious Derbies and was voted 2007 Australian 3yo Pacer of the Year.

As a four year old, he won another two Group One races to bring his total to 12 Group One races, and a combined 36 race wins and prize money of $1.4 million.

Lombo Pocket Watch was also named 2006 Australian Horse of the Year.

STOP PRESS: The New Zealand TAB's fixed odds book on the 2009 New Zealand Trotting Cup only opened a couple of hours ago. The first three bets taken were:

$150 on Changeover at $7.00; $20 on Monkey King at $9.00; $60 on St Barts at $201.

Duane RANGER (editor)

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