Lazarus rises to oc­ca­sion again

Sunday News - - RACING - NZ HAR­NESS

CHAM­PION pacer Lazarus rose to the oc­ca­sion while "hype horse" Heaven Rocks ran last, turn­ing New Zealand Cup mar­kets into con­fu­sion af­ter the five-horse $50,0000 Can­ter­bury Clas­sic at Ad­ding­ton on Fri­day night.

Har­ness rac­ing’s all­con­quer­ing All Stars sta­bles of Mark Pur­don and Natalie Ras­mussen, de­spite run­ning the top three in the Clas­sic (Have Faith In Me and Dream About Me fill­ing the mi­nor plac­ings), were left shocked by the run of Heaven Rocks.

He was the pre-post race favourite and had also headed Lazarus in the pre-post NZ Cup mar­ket.

Driver Ras­mussen said it felt as if the gi­ant-sized pacer had bro­ken down. A post-race ve­teri­nary ex­am­i­na­tion found the horse to be lame in the near front leg. The five-year-old pac­ing gi­ant was vet­ted again yes­ter­day and found to have a greasy heel.

Lazarus lifted his earn­ings past the $2.2 mil­lion mark for own­ers Glenys and Phil Ken­nard, Trevor Casey and Kevin Rise­ley, af­ter lead­ing out, trail­ing Have Faith In Me from the 1300m.

Co-trainer and driver Mark Pur­don, who would have pre­ferred an ex­tra week to fit Lazarus for a re­turn to rac­ing, asked him for just enough to win, scor­ing by a head.Lazarus paced the 2600m in a com­fort­able 3:19.3. The lead time picked up over the fi­nal 800m in 55.3s and the last 400m in a sharp 26.1s.

Pur­don was record­ing his fourth train­ing win in the race, hav­ing ear­lier won with Jack Cade in 2003, Clas­sic Cullen (co­trained with with Grant Payne) in 2007, and Lazarus (co-trained with Natalie Ras­mussen) last year.

The con­cern over Heaven Rocks, also co-raced by the Ken­nards’ and Mr Rise­ley, added to a chal­leng­ing first half of the pro­gramme for the All Stars sta­ble.

They had debu­tante Fu­natthe­beach late scratched out of the open­ing Sires Stakes 3YO Heat of the spring on ve­teri­nary ad­vice with a sus­pected virus.

Chase Auck­land, fan­cied to win the heat, came out on race morn­ing, due to get­ting cast in his box on Thurs­day night and be­ing slightly lame when jogged on Fri­day morn­ing.

An­other All Stars run­ner in Prince Fear­less was strongly sup­ported in the Can­ter­bury Park Trot­ting Cup but ran eighth, while an­other of their starters Renske B led up as favourite in an­other sup­port race, but tired to run fifth.

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