Mick off to Bankstown in search of glory

12:29 PM 02 Dec 2009 NZDT
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Karloo Mick
Karloo Mick
Simon Evans Photo

Dubbo harness racing pacer Karloo Mick will take his place in this Saturday night's M.H Treuer Memorial as trainer Barry Lew chases an elusive group 1 victory with the nine year old. The son of Panorama is the only horse backing up from last week's Miracle Mile at Tabcorp Park but Lew is still expecting tough competition.

"They don't just hand out victories in group 1 races and there is still plenty of depth this Saturday despite no other horses from the Miracle Mile going around" Lew said.

"Can't Bluff Me has run second to Blacks A Fake in the Queensland Pacing Championship, Washakie competed in the New Zealand Cup, Saucy Legend won the Newcastle Mile and Western Cam was very impressive winning the Bohemia Crystal Free For All last Sunday so the depth is definitely there."

Lew is happy with the way Karloo Mick has pulled up from the Miracle Mile and believes he will be at his best on Saturday night.

"He is remarkably well despite breaking 1:51 himself and recording a personal best in the Miracle Mile. I've got a Toyota twin turbo diesel Landcruiser from Terry Shield Toyota at Parramatta and I didn't think he could break 1:51 with that jammed in his behind."

"He's eating and drinking well and I can't wait for Saturday to come around so he can have a crack at the Treuer."

Karloo Mick will start from gate four on Saturday night and Lew was relieved to see a front row draw in the Bankstown feature after fairing poorly with barriers in the past.

"Barrier four is a good draw for him. He has been around in the Treuer from gate ten and I think he ran second last year from nine or ten so it is nice to finally draw the front row."

Lew will again call on the driving services of Greg Bennett and the Dubbo trainer believes the state's leading driver has been the key to the gelding's improvement in the past twelve months.

"I had a good think about it earlier this year and with the horse getting older I thought I might not have very long left to try throwing on a professional driver. Bennett would be twenty five kilograms lighter than I am and a bit younger too. "

"He drives these tracks for a living and goes around in a lot more races than I do."

While the move from the spacious Menangle track for the Miracle Mile to the half mile circuit at Bankstown for the Treuer Memorial has scared off a couple of Karloo Mick's main rivals including New Zealand pair Monkey King and Kiwi Ingenuity, Lew wants to see the smaller clubs continue to prosper.

"I think it would be a good idea to move the Treuer to Menangle in the future but in saying that I'm all for supporting smaller clubs. If the Bankstown committee still want to run their biggest race at their home track then I think we should support them."

"It's good for all of the feature races to be run on a track like Menangle but what people are forgetting is that there are other horses in the harness racing industry that poke around that need these smaller tracks to be competitive. At least if you can get them up near the front then you are a chance of pinching the occasional race."

"But on those big tracks it does give everyone an opportunity and the big races should be run there."

The M H Treuer Memorial is race six at Bankstown on Saturday night with the event due to begin at 9:15pm.

Pocket Watch is losing a race against time

Lombo Pocket Watch looks set to miss next year's New South Wales Inter Dominion with owner Mick Lombardo stating the "grey bullet" needs a good spell to get back to his racing weight. The son of Jet Laag has been sent to Lombardo's property Concorde Park in Victoria to recover from a tough nine month campaign but Lombardo has denied rumours that the horse has been taken off leading New South Wales' trainer Paul Fitzpatrick.

"That is simply not true. The horse has left the stables of Paul Fitzpatrick for a spell but the horse always spells on my property in Victoria" Lombardo said.

"Pocket Watch was light in condition after a tough campaign that included a trip to Queensland and he just needs some time to get over it but when he is ready to go back into work he will head back to Paul."

With the Inter Dominion only months away Lombardo can 't see the former Australian horse of the year being ready to go for the first round of heats at Harold Park on February 19 next year.

"We will give him as long as he needs. He won't be pushed and when he is ready to go back into training he will but I think it would be near impossible to have him ready for the first round of heats, time is against us."

The rumour mill was in full swing at Menangle on Sunday that the horse had been taken off the Fitzpatrick stable and Lombardo is unsure where the gossip started.

"I wasn't watching Sky Racing's coverage of the Miracle Mile on Sunday but one of my staff members said that Paul's son Blake was interviewed and made some strange comments about the horse's future. I think Blake needs to explain what he meant."

"I don't communicate with my trainers. I have been in the sport for 35 years and there is nothing they can tell me win lose or draw that I haven't heard before."

However Lombardo was quick to point out that he has reduced the number of horses he has in New South Wales.

"I have cut my numbers right back in NSW. Everyone says it is easier to win races in NSW compared to Victoria but I don't think that is right. It's tough to win a race anywhere. I do think there are more opportunities for the mares in Victoria but the Breeders Challenge in New South Wales is very good."

Alison ZAMMIT

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