Pacing hero Lazarus may not have got the best draw in Saturday's A$400,000 Victoria Cup but it was better than his main rival's.

And that was enough to see his price slashed in what promises to be one of the races of the year.

The New Zealand Cup winner will start from barrier six in the 2240m mobile at Melton, second from the outside of the front line.

But that, on paper at least, looks a lot better than key rival Hectorjayjay, who will start from two on the second line.


That should give Lazarus a decent tactical advantage at the start and trainer-driver Mark Purdon the option of pressing forward and staying in front of Hectorjayjay.

The bookies certainly think so, with Lazarus in from $1.90 pre draw to $1.40, while Hectorjayjay blew out from $2.90 to $5.

Lazarus will have plenty of New Zealand buddies around him in the Melton stabling block, with stablemates Vincent and Motu Meteor in heats of the Victoria Derby, as is northern pacer Jack's Legend.

Have Faith In Me, who disgraced himself galloping at Ballarat last Saturday, has been put on the unruly for a free-for-all on Saturday night while Sunny Ruby makes her Australian debut from a good draw in the Dullard Cup, alongside fellow Kiwi mare Quite A Moment.

Meanwhile, Our Waikiki Beach's assault on the Chariots of Fire has turned sour, with the big NZ pacer drawn wide in his final prelude at Menangle on Saturday, paying a remarkable $5 with the Australian TAB after his career-worst performance last Saturday.

He will need at least a top three finish to make the A$200,000 Chariots on February 11.