Born in 1937, Mick Lombardo fished for crays off the WA coast with his father Vince as a young man, then moved to trawlers. At age twenty-five he took a large gamble and built his first fishing boat, but the venture was so successful it led to his starting a ship-building business at age thirty-two and for the next twenty-five years Lombardo ships became famous for their activity in the oil industry and off-shore exploration.
At their peak, Lombardo companies employed over fifteen hundred people.
In the early 1970s Lombardo purchased a large property in the Margaret River region, which was to indulge his latent passion for standardbred breeding. Notable Farms was born.
A decade later, Lombardo acquired land in Shepparton, Victoria, and established Concorde Park where his very first stud stallion was the great Northern Lights.
By the late 1990s he had nearly a hundred broodmares under his care with a policy of keeping most of the best-bred fillies for racing and then breeding, whilst selling the colts.
This system produced results so startling it reshaped the face of Australian harness racing.
Of 1440 foals born, over two-thirds have raced and nearly half have won. In fact, between them these horses have won over 4000 races and well over $30 million in stakes, wearing the red Maltese cross on a white background – an international symbol for the best and safest of ships.
And there have been champions, especially of the two and three-year-old divisions, although several of Lombardo’s best have gone on to lengthy and amazing careers at Grand Circuit level.
The greatest of these was Tailamade Lombo, who won the 1997 Australian Pacing Gold at two and was National Two-Year-Old Filly of the Year. At three, she won the A.P.G. again and much more, including the Australian Derby, Australian Oaks and the WA and Victorian Oaks. She was both National Three-Year-Old Filly of the Year and overall National Three-Year-Old Pacer of the Year.
As an older horse she went on to win three Grand Circuit races - the Tasmanian Pacing Championship (twice) and Queensland Pacing Championship - as well as running second in a Miracle Mile.
She also won two Ladyship Miles and two Victorian Four-And-Five-Year-Old Championships amongst a bevy of successes.
Tailamade Lombo was, quite simply, one of Australia’s greatest ever female pacers. Twice named National Aged Pacing Mare of the Year after she turned four, when she retired she was also awarded a National Broodmare of the Year title. Her progeny featured numerous stakes winners, headlined by Aussie Made Lombo, who earned nearly $580,000 in prize money.
Lombo Pocket Watch, one of the rare colts that raced for Lombardo, was without doubt the best-performed two and three-year-old in Australian history.
The picturesque grey by Jet Laag won a record seventeen races at two (2005/2006) and other than when he failed to finish after an accident at his second start in a race, he was unbeaten in his first twenty-one appearances.
As a juvenile his victories included the Australian Pacing Gold, Australasian Breeders Crown, Vicbred Super Series, Bathurst Gold Crown and still three other classics.
Lombo Pocket Watch is the only horse in history to be named Australian Harness Horse of the Year as a two-year-old.
And he didn’t slow down at three.
The A.P.G. again fell to the amazing colt, as did the Vicbred Super Series, the Victorian Sires Classic and the Australian, Tasmanian and Victorian Derbies.
He won twelve races as a three-year-old.
At four, Lombo Pocket Watch took out the Golden Nugget in Perth and in total won forty-five races and in excess of $1.5 million in stakes.
Lombo Rapida was another multiple big race winner at two and three, with victories in the Two-Year-Old Fillies Australian Pacing Gold (1998) and a WA Oaks, Sales Classic and WA Sires Classic at three.
At four she won a Chariots of Fire in Sydney and at five the Queensland Four-And-Five-Year-Old Championship. In addition to this she was unlucky to be runner-up in successive WA Pacing Cups, at five and six years of age, firstly to Havago and then to The Falcon Strike. The margin was a nose on both occasions.
Concorde Lombo won the A.P.G. (1997) at three and a Victorian and WA Oaks, as well as the Vicbred Super Sires. Later, as a five-year-old, she won races such as the Ladyship Cup in Melbourne and an Easter Cup in Tasmania.
Ima Spicey Lombo won the 2009 Queensland Oaks and the 2011 Australian Pacing Championship.
Misty Maiden eclipsed the Australian Derby and the rich El Dorado Classic in 1992.
Lombo La Fe Fe won the 2002 Australian Gold for fillies and also the Breeders Crown at two - amongst a plethora of feature wins - and the A.P.G. again at three, before going on to win a McInerney Ford Four-Year-Old Classic, as well as a Heat and Consolation of the 2004 Perth Inter Dominion the same season.
Mick Lombardo also won Australian Pacing Golds with Lethal Lombo (1995), Espeshlimade Lombo (at two and three, in early and late 2001), Lombo Skyrider (2001 – Colts and Geldings) and Leilani Lombo (2010).
There are still other Lombardo Group One and feature race winners not listed here, but overall his horses have won thirty Group One races and twenty-five National Horse of the Year Awards in their respective categories. These occurred over roughly a twenty-five year period from 1986 to 2011, the bulk of which took place in a single decade between 1997 and 2007.
Mick Lombardo’s service to harness racing off the track is just as impressive.
A WAT.A. committeeman for twelve years and president for three (1989-91), he subsequently spent six years on the Australian Harness Racing Council and was Chairman for two (2002-04).
He also represented Australia at the World Trotting Conference in Norway in 2009. He is both a life member of that body and of the WAT.A. (now Gloucester Park Harness Racing).
In 2001, Mick Lombardo was honoured with a National Distinguished Service Award from the A.H.R.C. (now Harness Racing Australia) and in 2015 he became just the eighth person to be presented with Australian harness racing’s elite J.P. Stratton Award.
Prior to that, in 2011, and quite uniquely, Mick Lombardo was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his remarkable and long-standing contribution to the harness racing industry as a breeder, owner and administrator.
(Major Feature Races Only)
Australian Pacing Gold (All) - 1995, 1997, 1998, 2001 (F), 2001 (C&G), 2002, 2006, 2010
WA Golden Slipper - 1988
Victoria Sires Stakes (All)- 1988, 1994, 2002, 2006
N.S.W. Sire Stakes - 2001
Breeders Crown (All)- 1998, 2002, 2006
Bathurst Gold Crown/Tiara/ Bracelet (All) 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011
Seymour Nursery Pace (F) - 1994, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2010
Edgar Tatlow Stakes (F) - 1988
WA Sales Classic (All) - 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003
Pink Bonnet Mile - 1988, 1998, 2002, 2008
Westral/Ausdrill/Western Crown 2YO Classics (All) - 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000
Linden Huntley Memorial - 2006
Australian Derby - 1992, 1998, 2007
Victorian Derby - 2007
Tasmanian Derby - 2007
Australian Oaks - 1998
Victorian Oaks - 1997, 1998
WA Oaks - 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002
Queensland Oaks - 1998, 1999, 2009
Victorian Sires Stakes (All) - 1989, 1997, 2006
N.S.W. Sires Stakes - 1998
WA Sires Stakes - 1999
Australian Pacing Gold (All) - 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2006
Eldorado Classic (F)- 1992
WA Sales Classic (F) - 1999
Chariots Of Fire - 2000
Golden Nugget Championship - 2007
Victorian Sires Stakes (4YO M) - 1997
N.S.W. Sires Stakes (4YO M) - 1999
McInerney Ford 4YO Classic- 2004
Victorian 4YO Grand Prix - 1999
Australian Pacing Championship - 2011
Queensland Pacing Championship - 2000
Tasmanian Pacing Championship - 1999, 2000
Ladyship Mile - 1999, 2000
Ladyship Cup - 1999
WA Mares Mile - 2010
Victorian 4 & 5YO Championship - 1999, 2000
Queensland 4 & 5YO Championship - 2001
Empress Stakes- 2011, 2013
Ballarat Cup - 2000