Pacing king Lazarus will have to defy the record books in the toughest test of his stellar season after drawing wide in the A$750,000 Miracle Mile at Menangle next Saturday.
The wonder horse will start from barrier six in the great race, with no horse having won from outside barrier five since the Mile moved to Menangle a decade ago.
There was some good news for trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen as Lazarus's main rivals, Hectorjayjay (eight) and Lennytheshark (five) also fared poorly, while his stablemates Smolda (1) and Our Waikiki Beach came up with inside barriers.
"It is not going to be easy from out there but there should be a lot of pressure in the race," said Purdon, who has flown back to Auckland for today's yearling sales.
Lazarus has had a week to freshen up since winning the Chariots of Fire nine days ago and Purdon was pleased with his private work at Menangle on Saturday morning. "He has a tough month, racing four Saturdays in a row but the week off has to help him.
"So I think he will be very close to his peak on Saturday."
Lazarus's wide draw could have seen him lose favouritism for the Mile had Hectorjayjay, who won his prelude on Saturday, drawn well. But his horror run continued.
He has already drawn wide and been beaten by Purdon-trained runners in both the Inter Dominion Final and Victoria Cup this season.
"Bad barriers and Mark Purdon have cost Hector about $1 million this season I reckon," said a frustrated trainer David Aiken.
"I am not saying it is a disaster because he has such high gate speed he still might be able to lead but obviously an inside barrier would have been better."
Lennytheshark looms as an each-way chance after winning Saturday's other prelude and will settle forward from barrier five.
He was runner-up last year in Have Faith In Me's 1:47.5 record Miracle Mile but won't have to deal with his conqueror this week, who was not invited. Have Faith In Me's messy season continued when he settled last and barely ran past a horse in Lennytheshark's prelude and he simply couldn't start in a Miracle Mile in his current form.
There was plenty for the Kiwis to celebrate on Saturday night, as Motu Meteor and Vincent won their NSW Derby heats, Piccadilly Princess her Ladyship Mile lead-up and Partyon remained unbeaten winning her heat of the NSW Oaks.
But the shock of the night was the defeat, in fact thrashing, of New Zealand's best 3-year-old pacer Ultimate Machete as the $1.04 favourite in his NSW Derby heat.
The Sires' Stakes and Sales Series winner was flat all the way chasing stunning local Atomic Red and was run down into third.
He will still join his stablemates in the Derby but Purdon was surprised by the ease of his defeat. "I have had a few horses struggle fresh-up at Menangle and I think he will improve with the run and be better for the Derby. But he is going to need to be as the winner of his heat was great, while Motu Meteor and Vincent have both improved."
Miracle Mile field
2: Major Crocker (emg 2)
3: Bling It On
4: Our Waikiki Beach
5: Salty Robyn
7: Aztec Bromac (emg 1)
9: Yayas Hot Spot