Day At The Track

Pocket Watch poised to make history

01:26 AM 28 Nov 2007 NZDT
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Lombo Pocket Watch
Lombo Pocket Watch
Simon Evans Photo

Talented New South Wales reinsman Gavin Fitzpatrick will have to create a special piece of history when he drives superstar Lombo Pocket Watch in the Milwaukee XXXX Gold Golden Nugget prelude at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

For the hot favourite to succeed, Fitzpatrick will have to drive his first winner in WA and Lombo Pocket Watch will have to record his first victory at Gloucester Park.

On Friday night it will be 740 days since Lombo Pocket Watch had his only previous start in a race at Gloucester Park, on November 21, 2005, when he was driven by Chris Lewis and had to be retired in the first circuit with broken gear.

Lombo Pocket Watch then won at each of his next 19 starts. The magnificent four-year-old now has a sensational record of 37 starts for 29 wins and four placings for earnings of $1,094,853.

On Friday night, the 25-year-old Fitzpatrick will be having his ninth drive at Gloucester Park. He has yet to be placed in a race at Gloucester Park. That is somewhat of an unfair statement because his eight unplaced drives have all been on long-priced outsiders.

His first Gloucester Park drive was behind Selby Bromac in the final of the interdominion championship in March 2004. Selby Bromac finished tenth behind Jofess, who beat The Falcon Strike by a nose.

Then Fitzpatrick had five unplaced drives at Gloucester Park last Friday night and two unplaced drives on Tuesday.

Not surprisingly, Fitzpatrick is confident that Lombo Pocket Watch will triumph on Friday night, even though he said that the stylish son of Jet Laag was not at his top.

“He’s working very well and is holding his weight well,” Fitzpatrick said. “He’s not 100 per cent and should improve on whatever he does.

“He has no problem in handling the track. He handles small tracks all the time and he’s worked at Gloucester Park a couple of times in the past fortnight. Two Saturdays ago he ran a mile and a half at Gloucester Park in 3.10 and ran home the final 800m in about 57sec.”

Then Fitzpatrick drove Lombo Pocket Watch to an effortless victory in a 2150m trial at Byford last Sunday when he rated 2.02 and sprinted the final 800m in a sparkling56.6sec.

On that trial alone, Lombo Pocket watch should prove far too good for his rivals this week, even though Fitzpatrick was not happy when the stallion drew out wide at barrier eight in the 2536m prelude.

Fitzpatrick said that Gloucester Park was quite like Sydney’s Harold Park where Lombo Pocket Watch has won four times. And Fitzpatrick has enjoyed his experience of driving in WA, saying “it’s pretty keen and competitive out there.”

Lombo Pocket Watch had his first three starts in WA before campaigning in the eastern states and New Zealand.

He won at each of his two starts at Pinjarra as a two-year-old before heading east and he now has won on 11 different tracks.

Apart from his wins at Pinjarra, he has been successful at Moonee Valley (eight wins), Harold Park (four), Albion Park (three), Ballarat (three), Shepparton (two), Bulli (two) and once each at Newcastle, Launceston, Hobart and Bathurst.

His two starts in New Zealand early this year produced a fourth to Gotta Go Cullen in a heat of the Northern Derby and a second to Changeover in the final of the classic in Auckland.

Ken Casellas, Gloucester Park

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