Day At The Track

Lazarus will battle to rise

08:09 AM 08 Dec 2017 NZDT
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Lazarus and Mark Purdon,Harness racing
Lazarus and Mark Purdon
Gloucester Park

If Lazarus is going to win tonight's A$1.1 million Inter Dominion Final in Perth he is almost certainly going to have do it the hard way.

It is looking increasingly unlikely the Kiwi pacing hero is going to secure his favoured pacemaking role in the 2936m mobile and that his enormous stamina is going to be tested like never before.

Punting on tonight's race — it is actually 1am tomorrow but punters don't think that way — is a battle between perception and reality.

The perception is Lazarus, after a track record heat win last Friday and the seemingly perfect barrier two, will work his way to the lead and win.

If that first part proves true then so will the second, as Lazarus has never been beaten in front and unless he has to do something crazy in this race, from in front he would win. But the reality may be different.

Tiger Tara, drawn the ace and with more natural gate speed than Lazarus, could hold him at the start and New South Wales driver Todd McCarthy says he would like to stay in front throughout.

That could change, especially if any of the big three outside him in Lazarus (2), Soho Tribeca (4) or Lennytheshark (6) seriously try to cross him early and soften Tiger Tara up. But if it doesn't happen then Lazarus faces having to work harder than the horses inside him on the marker pegs.

He might be able to work over Tiger Tara and break him but that could still leave him vulnerable to swoopers such as Lennytheshark, Soho Tribeca or most dangerously Chicago Bull.

And as great as Lazarus is, his two heat defeats in this series prove he can be beaten when asked to sit parked, with coming from further back even more difficult.

So where the muscular black stallion is after a lap of the tiny Gloucester Park circuit could decide the race. Not only would he be near impossible to run down in front but Lazarus leading would also put Chicago Bull three back on the markers, and that would flip the script enormously.

So by all means back Lazarus to win because he might simply outstay his Australian rivals over a distance which favours him, but the reality is unless he gets that unlikely lead, his $2 price is way too short.

Still, to beat him most of his rivals are going to have to run past him, something no horse has done in a race before. It is going to be a fun watch for those who stay up late.

They could also be rewarded by a Kiwi victory in the A$200,000 Golden Nugget, where only bad luck looks a serious threat to Ultimate Machete but stablemate Piccadilly Princess faces a trickier test in the A$125,000 Mares Classic.

She has drawn the inside of the second line, which will be great if Eden Franco can hold the front from barrier one but a disaster if favourite Amaretto runs to the lead early.

Yet another All Stars big name should provide one of the highlights at Alexandra Park tonight when the enigmatic Heaven Rocks falls beautifully into the Summer Cup against semi-open class opposition and should win if he gets things right.

Michael Guerin

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