Champion three-year-old pacer Lazarus completed an unbeaten season in record-breaking fashion in last night's $200,000 New Zealand Derby at Addington.
The sensational pacer overcame sitting parked for the last lap to down leader Classie Brigade to win his third Derby for the term and almost guarantee himself three-year-old of the year honours.
Lazarus went into last night's classic having already won the Victoria and Northern Derbies as well as the Sires' Stakes Final and Sales Series Pace so even though his stablemate Our Waikiki Beach is still unbeaten, Lazarus now assumes the mantle of our best three-year-old, with the pair having never clashed.
Co-trainer Mark Purdon will allow Lazarus to bypass the season-ending Harness Jewels at Cambridge on June 4 so he can spell now and be set for the New Zealand Cup in November.
He goes to the paddock closing in on $1 million in stakes, and with a new national record, his effort last night breaking his age group's 2600m mobile time.
On a huge night at Addington, Monbet was an easy winner of the NZ Trotting Champs and now heads to Auckland for two clashes with arch rival Speeding Spur, the first at Alexandra Park on April 22.
And Marcoola repaid the faith of his connections - who turned down a reported $200,000 offer for him this week - to lead almost throughout in the NZ Trotting Derby.
But at Alexandra Park, the shock of the night was the failure of Hughie Green in the Kumeu Stakes. The hot favourite was leading but dropped out to finish last, throwing open the four-year-old features at Alexandra Park at the end of the month.