The New Zealand Herald

Pacing great races no more


TMichael Guerin

he career of Auckland Cup hero Vincent is officially over. The exceptiona­l 4-year-old pacer won’t race again and will stand at stud next season after being purchased jointly by breeding giants Alabar and Nevele R.

The news will come as a shock to harness racing fans after trainer Mark Purdon had expressed hope Vincent may be able to recover from the leg injury suffered in January that has ultimately ended his career.

Vincent was in Australia for a group one campaign aimed at the Ballarat Cup, Chariots Of Fire and Miracle Mile when he was found to have a suspensory injury and while that instantly raised fears his career may be over, stem cell injections were thought to be giving him another shot at racing next season.

But that now won’t be the case, with Alabar’s New Zealand boss Graeme Henley confirming the magnificen­t 4-year-old is on their South Auckland property and will stand at stud at Alabar’s Victorian base in Australia next season.

“While it is a real shame for his connection­s he was retired when he had the racing world at his feet, we are thrilled to have him,” says Henley.

“I think everybody was seeing him as the next big thing after his Auckland Cup win and when you talk to Mark [ Purdon] about him he just loved the horse.

“Everybody knows what a great horse he was and we see him as a really good fit for the current market. Not only is he a son of Art Major, who has been such a champion stallion for us but of course he can cover Bettors Delight, Somebeachs­omewhere, Mach Three and Christian Cullen mares.

“These top New Zealand and Australian horses now are as good as anything you can buy in North America, so we are pretty excited.”

Vincent’s retirement confirmati­on comes at a time when the future of his champion stablemate Lazarus is very much up in the air.

His connection­s met on the weekend to discuss two offers being made for the 5-year-old, who won the New Zealand Cup, Inter Dominion and Hunter Cup this season.

One offer is believed to be from Alabar in a deal that would see him race next season in a shared ownership before being retired to stud.

The Herald understand­s the other offer, if accepted, could end Lazarus’s New Zealand racing career.

While the exact details of the offers are not being discussed publicly racing fans of all codes will be hoping Lazarus gets his shot at winning a third New Zealand Cup at Addington in November.

Lazarus has not raced since his dramatic failure in the Miracle Mile on February but after spelling in Matamata will soon start a month of work on a water walker before returning to the All Stars stables in Canterbury if he is to continue his career.

Meanwhile, the incredible record of former New Zealand pacers in the A$200,000 West Australia Derby continued last Friday when King Of Swing won the classic.

 ?? Picture/ Dean Purcell ?? Vincent will stand at stud at Alabar’s Victorian base in Australia next season.
Picture/ Dean Purcell Vincent will stand at stud at Alabar’s Victorian base in Australia next season.

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