Day At The Track

Lombo Pocket Watch unplaced in boilover

06:00 AM 05 Jan 2008 NZDT
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Chris Lewis
Chris Lewis - And connections of Capricorn Cruiser

The $400,000 Be Active WA Pacing Cup has been thrown into the melting pot after champion four-year-old Lombo Pocket Watch failed dismally in the Veolia Enrironmental Services Stakes at Gloucester Park on Friday night January 4th.

Punters were stunned when the flying grey began to struggle 250m from home and wilted from second at that point to finish a well-beaten fifth behind 16/1 chance Capricorn Cruiser.

Lombo Pocket Watch, favourite at 3/1 on, finished 20.9 metres from the winner and he will need to improve sharply to win the rich cup over 2536m at Gloucester Park next Friday night.

Reinsman Gavin Fitzpatrick told the stewards that he was disappointed at the horse’s performance, but felt sure the grey would show improvement in the cup.

This was Lombo Pocket Watch’s first attempt in open-class company after he had been restricted to racing against his own age as a two, three and four-year-old, with his 40 starts before his shock defeat producing 32 wins, two seconds, two thirds, two fourths, one fifth and one retirement after breaking gear.

Fitzpatrick told the stewards that Lombo Pocket Watch had faced a significant rise in class racing against older and more seasoned pacers.

Lombo Pocket Watch, who had been untroubled to score effortless victories in his first three starts as a four-year-old, all at Gloucester Park, went into Friday night’s event as an M15-class pacer, by far the tightest-assessed runner in race.

He had to lower his colours to an M4-class pacer Capricorn Cruiser, Precious Dylan (M7), Earl of Locksley (M8) and Patches (M9).

Capricorn Cruiser, trained by Ross Olivieri and driven to victory by Chris Lewis, was not chosen in the field of 12 to contest the WA Pacing Cup. He was not one of the two emergencies and was not chosen in the field of 12 to contest the Cup consolation, in which he was named as second emergency.

“It was one we didn’t expect to win; I thought we’d be running for second or third,” Lewis said. “But he got a good run throughout (three back on the pegs) and he unleashed a real good sprint in the straight. The last 200m was pretty quick.

Lombo Pocket Watch on his night is as good as any horse going around and tonight wasn’t his night.”

ith the late scratching of noted speedster Lookslikelightning (who had filling in the near foreleg), Lombo Pocket Watch started from barrier eight and Fitzpatrick restrained the grey soon after the start and had him ideally placed, in sixth place in the moving line on sttling down.

Patches led from barrier one, with Precious Dylan on his outside and rank outsider Am I Tough on the pegs in third place.

After 600m, Fitzpatrick dashed Lombo Pocket Watch forward, three wide, and he quickly moved outside the pacemaking Patches. Lombo Pocket Watch was a neck second with 250m to travel, but it was quite obvious that he was struggling and failing to respond to Fitzpatrick’s urgings.

Precious Dylan swept past Patches on the home turn and looked likely to win. But Capricorn Cruiser sprinted brilliantly to charge to the front in the final 15m. It was the five-year-old’s 11th win from 51 starts.

The win gave Lewis the middle leg of a driving treble. He had won earlier with Roger Roddick and completed his successful night when tough stayer Minotaurus raced three wide for much of the way and held on in a slogging finish to win by a nose from the favourite Out To Kill.

Ken Casellas

estern Australian Trotting Association

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