Racing: Lazarus looks to perform Miracle

By Michael Guerin, Michael Guerin in Sydney

Trainer-driver Mark Purdon says there are an array of reasons Lazarus was a percentage point or two below his dazzling best. Photo / Stuart McCormick
Trainer-driver Mark Purdon says there are an array of reasons Lazarus was a percentage point or two below his dazzling best. Photo / Stuart McCormick

Kiwi pacing champ Lazarus can go faster - and he might have to.

The four-year-old freak racked up his fifth group one win in his last seven starts when he outmuscled his rivals in the A$200,000 Chariots Of Fire at Menangle on Saturday night.

After bullying his way to the front down the back straight he never flinched under pressure from stablemate Our Waikiki Beach in the home straight to head home a stable quinella in 1:49 for the mile.

For any normal pacing great that would have been sensational but for a horse who has handed out epic thrashings in New Zealand and Victoria Cups it felt almost tradesmanlike.

There was no explosion at the top of the straight, just a relentless staying performance without the icing on top.

Trainer-driver Mark Purdon says there are an array of reasons Lazarus was a percentage point or two below his dazzling best.

"He has had a tricky week," admitted Purdon.

"He had to travel up here from Melbourne which meant his training was interrupted.

"And when he first got here the heat affected him a bit.

"And he has raced four Saturdays in a row, all in group ones, which is not easy.

"So I was proud of the way he stuck to it when Waikiki Beach came at him."

Lazarus's win earns him the first invite to the A$750,000 Miracle Mile on Saturday week as well as the luxury of bypassing the preludes this Saturday.

"That will be a help, having a week off and also more time to get used to the heat here.

"So I am certain he can go quicker than the 1:49 and he might have to in the Miracle Mile."

Lazarus is seemingly unbeatable in front but he may not be guaranteed that role in a Miracle Mile that could contain Lennytheshark, Hectorjayjay, Smolda, Bling It On and defending champ Have Faith In Me.

At his NZ Cup best he might simply be too good for even that elite bunch but if he performs at his Chariots level then a Hectorjayjay leading or a Bling It On sitting on his back could give him, and punters, a huge fright.

The remaining seven Miracle Mile invites will be issued this Saturday, with the first two home in each of the qualifiers getting a start, leaving three spots up for grabs.

Our Waikiki Beach might have done enough to sneak in so will be allowed to bypass the preludes but the question mark horse will be Have Faith In Me.

As the defending champion and Australasian mile holder the Menangle club will want him in the race and a top four prelude finish will probably be good enough to earn him an invite but anything below that level could make his inclusion hard to justify.

Saturday's meeting will also see heats of the NSW Derby and Oaks so will feature Ultimate Machete, Vincent and Partyon.

But Auckland Cup winner Dream About Me won't be there, with Purdon opting to trial her on Tuesday and again next week in the lead-up to the A$200,000 Ladyship Mile after a recent virus setback.

"She is better now and I am happy with her but I think two trials will be enough."

- NZ Herald

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