Heaven Rocks gets what could be his best chance to beat Lazarus this spring at Ashburton today.
But if you want to back him you might be smart to wait until just before start time.
The two most talented pacers in the country meet again in the $50,000 Flying Stakes, the traditional best lead-up to the New Zealand Cup on November 14, for which the pair are the stand-out favourites.
While they are only having their second starts of their Cup campaign their seasons have already produced drama, with Heaven Rocks suggesting he had closed the gap on Lazarus with two huge workout performances before a shock failure at Addington in a race where Lazarus's manners won their comeback clash.
That night Heaven Rocks's Cup campaign looked to be in jeopardy as he pulled up sore but he was good as gold a day later, his trainers convinced the giant was being a pussycat after a greasy heel problem.
Since then he has easily beaten Lazarus in a private workout at Ashburton last Tuesday, reaffirming he has the motor to match the champ if not the manners.
Lazarus is almost the complete pacer, with great manners, huge stamina and enough speed to have beaten Heaven Rocks both times they have clashed in a race.
Trainer Mark Purdon still believes the five-year-old is working his way back to peak fitness so could be vulnerable to the absolute best version of Heaven Rocks today and that is where the Ashburton track could help the latter.
With its sweeping bends and long straights Ashburton is the perfect confidence-boosting track for a horse with Heaven Rocks' issues and he won his only start here in stunning fashion in the Jewels.
It is impossible to make a case he is a better horse than Lazarus so whether you want to back him to finally beat him today comes down to price.
At anything close to $4 Heaven Rocks might be worth the risk but he was $2.70 fixed odds with the TAB bookies last night.
But the Australian TAB had him a lot longer at $3.40 as he has never raced there whereas Lazarus has a number of Aussie group one wins to his name.
So that name recognition plus the general distrust for Heaven Rocks could see him drift out to close to $4 on the tote by race start time, especially as the tote pool is co-mingled with Australia where Lazarus will attract most of the money. Odds aside though, Lazarus should probably be able to work to the lead, particularly in a race where several of his stablemates are underdone, and then even if he hands up the pacemaking role to Heaven Rocks he would still be favoured to come off his back and beat him.
Today's main trot sees the return of millionaire trotter Stent, who hasn't raced for 21 months but gets the perfect comeback ace draw in the Flying Mile.
It is a huge ask to expect him to win after such a long break.
But with Monbet sidelined the open class trotters are a mixed bunch so nothing would surprise in today's sprint.