Day At The Track

Chariots anomaly

09:02 AM 11 Feb 2017 NZDT
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Lazarus winning the Victoria Cup20170128.jpg
Lazarus winning the Victoria Cup

Lazarus is out to correct one of the great anomalies of pacing in tonight’s A$200,000 Chariots of Fire at Menangle.

Because the greatest pacer in Australasia is also the slowest horse in the four-year-old group one.

In a remarkable stat, Lazarus, the winner of $1.8million and the New Zealand and Victoria Cups has a fastest official mile rate of 1:52.5, the equal slowest of the 10 acceptors in tonight’s sprint.

It is a staggering 3.2 seconds slower that second favourite Salty Robyn’s personal best, all because Lazarus has raced sparingly over sprint trips and never on the lightning-fast Menangle.

In fact, Lazarus’s quickest mile rate was actually over the 2240m of the Victoria Cup a fortnight ago.

Considering stablemate Have Faith In Me set a track record 1:47.5 in the Miracle Mile last season and Lazarus is better performed he would seem a 1:47 miler in waiting but his lack of Menangle experience should be the greatest concern for punters taking the $1.35 NZ TAB quote tonight.

Menangle miles are known for their searing early sectionals and many great horses have found themselves out of their comfort zones early then struggling to make ground after.

Add to that that Lazarus has raced the last three Saturday nights and travelled north from Melbourne this week and trainer Mark Purdon admits he could be vulnerable.

"He seems great and has trained well but I am also aware this could be a tricky race,” says Purdon.

“So while I expect him to go well I wouldn’t be surprised if the race turns out tougher than some people might think.”

Purdon is aware he will need to stay handy and not give away tactical advantage to the likes of Salty Robyn with exactly who leads after 400m crucial to his chances of getting the front.

If Lazarus was able to reach the lead punters will feel far more comfortable as no horse has ever run past him in his 26-start career.

Purdon does have two powerful Chariots support acts in Lets Chase The Dream and Our Waikiki Beach, who he is unable to split the pair from their wide draws.

The winner of tonight’s race will be invited to the $750,000 Miracle Mile at Menangle on February 25.

Michael Guerin

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