Victorian officials and a legion of harness racing fans will be glued to their TV sets tomorrow night (January 11) to see champion pacer Lombo Pocket Watch contest the $400,000 Be Active WA Pacing Cup at Perth's Gloucester Park.
Whilst the accolades of claiming a 13th Group 1 title potentially await "The Grey Bullet", a victory would just as importantly secure him a berth in the Watpac Inter Dominion semi finals at Moonee Valley on February 23.
n the contrary, a defeat is likely to see him bypass the Watpac Inter Dominion, to be held in Victoria from February 16 to March 1, and concentrate purely on four-year-old racing for the remainder of the season.
rainer Paul Fitzpatrick believes the champion grey pacer can prove triumphant at his Barastoc Grand Circuit debut, despite suffering an inglorious defeat in his first test against open company last Friday night.
We thought the horse was right, but he probably wasn't forward enough," the New South Welshman said. "In his age group races we could take him to the track 90 percent fit and win, but you can't do that in open company."
The good news is the horse pulled up well, he's had a good week on the track and that run will improve him a hell of a lot. I'd say don't write him off on last week just yet."
he million dollar earner has been installed a $3.60 second elect with TAB Sportsbet behind 2006 Hankook Tyres Hunter Cup placegetter No Blue Manna ($2.90), who is the form pacer of WA despite his veteran status.
oth favourites will have to overcome tough barriers though withhorribly drawn outside the front line in barrier nine, whilst No Blue Manna will need to circle his rivals up from barrier 12.
We'd certainly have liked a better draw than nine, but he is a speed horse and the racing in WA is run so truly that it's not the end of the world," Fitzpatrick said.
ot surprisingly Fitzpatrick cited No Blue Manna as the one to beat. "He's the form horse in WA and has that bit of class on his side," he said.
he favoured pair are amongst seven Watpac Inter Dominion nominees in action in the WA Cup. The others hoping to secure a passage directly through to the semi finals are Shardons Aflyin (two, $14), Money Magnet (five, $31), Christian Spirit (six, $18), Franco Amon (seven, $10) and Precious Dylan (10, $11).
he Be Active WA Pacing Cup (2536m) will be run at 9.05pm local time (11.05pm AEST) tomorrow at Gloucester Park.
Shaun Kelly, HRV