Day At The Track

Lazarus still getting better, says Mark Purdon

07:33 PM 09 Jan 2018 NZDT
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Lazarus, harness racing
Inter Dominion champion Lazarus will chase another big-race win in the Fremantle Cup on Friday night.

Harness racing fans have watched megastar mare Winx in awe and longed for a pin-up horse of their own. Now they have one with Lazarus, who is rapidly becoming the Winx of harness racing.

The crowds he drew and atmosphere he stirred during his winning Perth Inter Dominion raid late last year were fantastic.

Trained in New Zealand by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, Lazarus stayed in WA after his Inter Dominion romp and now has Gloucester Park’s two biggest races firmly in his sights … then it’s over to Melbourne and Sydney.

Next up is Friday night’s $350,000 Group 1 Fremantle Cup where Lazarus has gate five and has opened a commanding $1.30 TAB fixed odds favourite.

Just to underline the Purdon/Rasmussen dominance, they also trained Lazarus’ main danger and the TAB second elect, Ultimate Machete (gate two).

Lazarus might not boast a Winx-like winning streak, but his record is similarly impressive with 41 starts netting 34 wins, seven placing and his earnings have rocketed past $3.3 million.

Visiting North American driving stars Marcus Miller and James McDonald heaped praise on Lazarus as they watched his Inter Dominion win trackside at Gloucester Park.

They were adamant he was as good as any pacer in the world right now.

After the Fremantle Cup comes the $400,000 Group 1 WA Pacing Cup where Lazarus will again dominant betting at Gloucester Park on January 19.

“Then he’s off to Melbourne for the Hunter Cup (February 3) and then Sydney for a lead-up race and the Miracle Mile,” Purdon said.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to train some amazing horses over the years, but Lazarus is the best of the lot. I’ve said for a year or so. He’s that bit special.

Trainer-driver Mark Purdon says Lazarus is still getting better.

“The way he won the (Inter Dominion) final and then beat them so easily when he resumed and needed the run at Gloucester Park last week was pretty amazing.

“He seems to still be getting better.”

 

Although Lazarus is obviously the stable flagship, Purdon and Rasmussen have arguably the strongest stable the sport has seen in this part of the world.

As well as Lazarus, they also have stars like Ultimate Machete, Vincent, Heaven Rocks and Titan Banner being set for races like the Hunter Cup, Chariots Of Fire and Miracle Mile over the next two months.

If they continue in current form, Purdon and Rasmussen could have four or five of the eight runners in the $750,000 Miracle Mile on February 24.

Reprinted with permission of News Corp Australia Network

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