Harness racing's version of the people's champion, Lombo Pocket Watch, has run his last race. Owner Mick Lombardo met with trainer Paul Fitzpatrick on Wednesday night where it was decided to bring down the curtain on the champion grey's racing career with a stud career in Shepparton awaiting.
"It wasn't easy I can tell you," Lombardo said. "I don't think a lot of people realise just how difficult it was to come to this decision because we could have had a lot of fun with him in the next year in races like the Inter Dominion.
"But the decision's been made and now it's up to the crowd (broodmare owners) to determine whether it was the right one."
Last Friday night's narrow second placing behind Ebony Gem in the $200,000 Group 1 Chariots Of Fire at Harold Park took "The Grey Bullet's" record to 36 wins andnineminor placings from52 starts.
Incredibly, 12 of those wins -one-thirdof his career victories - were at Group 1 level. Among his elite-level wins were his two-year-old Breeders Crown, two and three-year-old Australian Pacing Gold and Vicbred Super Series titles and the Alabar Victoria and Australian Derbys
The Paul Fitzpatrick-trained star won $1,401,568 in prizemoney, placing him in 20th spot on the Australasian all-time money-earner's list.
Lombardo saidprovided him with countless memories and the job now was to try and find his next star.
"He's been a wonderful racehorse," Australia's biggest owner said. "As Paul (Fitzpatrick) said, it's very difficult to get a fast-class horse of that magnitude - my last before him was probably Tailamade Lombo - and now we have to search for another."
Along with his racetrack deeds, the 2006 Australian Horse of the Year's breeding should standing him in good stead at stud. He is by renowned North American sireout of 1992 Australian Derby winner Misty Maiden.
will stand for a fee of just $3000 at Lombardo's Concorde Park at Shepparton in Victoria.