Lazarus is the undisputed champion of Australasian harness racing.
The brilliant New Zealand pacer demonstrated his raw and unflinching power with a comprehensive victory in the sport’s biggest event, the $1.1 million TABtouch Inter Dominion Grand Final at Gloucester Park in Perth last night (Friday).
Trained and driven by master horseman Mark Purdon, Lazarus ($1.90) sat parked for the majority of the 2936m mobile start event before racing clear of rivals Chicago Bull ($4.70) and Tiger Tara ($7.20) over the concluding stages for an emphatic victory.
The dominance mirrored his winning effort in last month’s $800,000 New Zealand Cup at Addington.
The victory also provided Purdon with back to back victories in the Inter Dominion after winning last year with the recently retired star Smolda.
Overall, Purdon has now won 6 Inter Dominion finals, 3 of each – pacers and trotters.
Lazarus joins Smolda and Mark Hanover as Pacing Grand Final winners while his trotting triumphs came via Pride Of Petite and I Can Doosit (x 2).
Purdon, a lock for the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, has now surpassed the legendary Brian Hancock as the most successful driver in Inter Dominion history with his sixth trophy.
Hancock won five Inter Dominion Grand Finals via Our Sir Vancelot (x3), Weona Warrior and Koala King.
But for Purdon, this is the sweetest victory of his record haul.
Lazarus is the pacer that continues to rewrite the record books while his record builds at a rapid and incredible pace with many comparisons already drawn and squashed.
The striking five-year-old stallion has now won 32 of his 39 starts while never missing a top-three finish in the other seven starts and his career earnings now easily sits above $3 million which makes him the highest earning performer of his record breaking sire Bettors Delight.
After starting nicely from gate two, Lazarus was allowed to find his rhythm early while Tiger Tara led easily from his inside draw, both Soho Tribeca and Lennytheshark quickly moved forward deeper off the track and took up handy positions.
After completing the first lap of the staying contest, Purdon made his move with Lazarus and circled the field quickly and parked outside the pace setting Tiger Tara.
The lead time was covered in a moderate 99.9 seconds.
The pressure intensified over the final mile with Lazarus firmly in control despite racing without cover, Purdon was in the position where he could evaluate each and every rival he faced.
The first half of the final mile was covered in sectionals of 30.3 and 29.7 seconds.
Entering the back straight for the final time, Lazarus moved closer to Tiger Tara while Have Faith In Me joined in three-wide and the power sprinting quickly commenced.
Lazarus quickly joined Tiger Tara while Chicago Bull waited in the pocket spot,
The third quarter was covered in 27.4 seconds.
Upon straightening, Purdon allowed himself to take long looks over both shoulders before sending his mighty beast into overdrive and putting the contest to bed with relative ease.
Lazarus scored by 4m from Chicago Bull while Tiger Tara was a further 1.5m away in third while Vultan Tin charged late to grab fourth.
The last split was covered in 27.2 seconds.
The overall time was 3:34.5 – a mile rate of 1:57.6.
“I’m very pleased and particularly proud of this horse, he’s an absolute champion and a pleasure to be involved with.” Purdon beamed.
Lazarus has now won two of the three legs staged to date for the 2017/18 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit season and sits comfortably at the top of the leaderboard with 200 points.
The next leg of the PG Grand Circuit is the $250,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup at Alexandra Park in Auckland on New Year’s Eve.
It’s expected that Lazarus will remain in the west and tackle the $450,000 WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park on January 19 before returning to the east coast.