Racing: Tough draw for Lazarus in Oz

By Michael Guerin

The four-year-old Lazarus has only raced twice in Australia. Photo / Michael Craig
The four-year-old Lazarus has only raced twice in Australia. Photo / Michael Craig

Pacing hero Lazarus faces his usual tough draw in the biggest race of his Australian career so far.

The pacer who thumped our best local talent by 10 lengths in the New Zealand Cup in November will start from the outside of the front line in the A$120,000 Ballarat Cup on Saturday night.

Drawn inside him over the 2710m will be two Inter Dominion champions, his own stablemate Smolda and Victorian star Lennytheshark.

But while he will have to overcome the toughest draw in the race, Lazarus has shown he has plenty of experience at doing that.

The four-year-old has only raced twice in Australia, winning both his heat and final of the Victoria Derby last season from second line draws.

He also came from the second line in the Sires' Stakes Final and NZ Derby at Addington last season while he drew wide on the front line in the Sales Series Pace.

While overcoming that obstacle is harder in the serious big time against older horses, Lazarus has still opened the $1.30 favourite for Saturday's group one with the Australian TAB, ahead of Lennytheshark at $4.50 and Smolda at $6.50.

Safely through Saturday night, Lazarus will head to the Victoria Cup on Saturday week, with three more Australian starts culminating in the A$750,000 Miracle Mile on February 25.

He will have his final pre-race workout at Ballarat this morning.

Smolda won't be his only big-name stablemate in action on Saturday too, with Have Faith In Me making his comeback in a sprint race at Ballarat, on trial for potentially the Victoria and Hunter Cups the two following Saturdays.

And Waikiki Beach, who was surprisingly beaten at Menangle last Saturday, returns there this week to tackle local flyer Salty Robyn in a prelude to the Chariots Of Fire.

Meanwhile, recent NZ record setter Vincent makes his Australian debut at Geelong tomorrow night where he will be red hot on the way to the Victoria Derby.

- NZ Herald

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