Lazarus is the king of cool.
Movie star looks, swagger like Jagger and the perfect blend of natural and freakish talent.
He has it all.
And if you require further proof, his seek and destroy display in tonight’s (Saturday) Gr.1 $500,000 Del-Re National A G Hunter Cup at TABCORP Park, Melton underlines all of his champion qualities.
It was PHENOMENAL!
Put simply, he is a heartbreaker….on and off the track.
A long list of rivals have valiantly tried to topple him in the elite staying contests across both sides of the Tasman but his depths of stamina is unparalleled and therefore, rivals are left gasping and more often than not, heartbroken.
Starting as a clear favourite, Lazarus ($1.30) defied a gallant Soho Tribeca ($22.60) and stablemate Heaven Rocks ($9.50) to claim the 2760m mobile start staying feature.
At release point, champion reinsman Gavin Lang fired Shadow Sax off the gate to lead before Tiger Tara was able to make a re-take move and find the leading role again while Lazarus was forced a little wider before ending up outside him.
Very quickly, Soho Tribeca charged around three-wide and took the position on the outside of Tiger Tara which left Lazarus with perfect cover.
But Purdon wanted to make sure it was a staying contest and left the one out/one back trail and raced around to park outside of Tiger Tara working past the 1600m marker.
The lead time was covered in 82.7 seconds.
It was going to be a survival of the fittest and Purdon applied strong pressure to the leader while rivals couldn’t make a move from back in the field.
The first half of the final was covered in 29.4 and 28.6 seconds.
Entering the back straight, Tiger Tara led Lazarus with Shadow Sax and Soho Tribeca right behind them while Lennytheshark remained buried three back on the pegs with Bling It On and Heaven Rocks next in the moving line.
Relentless pressure was forthcoming from Lazarus with the third quarter timed in 27 seconds.
Lazarus quickly reached the lead and then drew clear from Tiger Tara while Soho Tribeca, Lennytheshark and Heaven Rocks started sweeping runs.
In the straight, Lazarus was there to be beaten but his unflinching nerve remained intact and he kept lifting and fighting off all challengers when it mattered most.
At the line, Lazarus lasted by 1m from Soho Tribeca with another 2.5m back to Heaven Rocks back in third place.
The final split was covered in 28 seconds.
The time of 3:15.7 equates to a mile rate of 1:54.1 and easily obliterated the previous track record which was set by Bling It On twelve months earlier.
“I thought to myself I’m going to turn this into a staying race and may the best horse win…He’s a champion and I’ve said that for a long time now and he showed that again tonight.” A jubilant Purdon said.
Lazarus has now won 35 of his 43 starts while never finishing further back than third while 15 of his victories have come at Gr.1 level.
And with earnings in excess of $3.5 million, he has now surpassed Monkey King as the richest ever New Zealand bred pacer of all time.
The Bettors Delight – Bethany entire is unbeaten in four starts at Melton, his triumphs include the Victoria Derby, 4yo Bonanza, Victoria and Hunter Cups.
His collection of Grand Circuit trophies includes the New Zealand Cup (x 2), Inter Dominion, Victoria & Hunter Cups.
It was Purdon’s second victory in Victoria’s biggest pacing event following his success two years ago behind Smolda.
With only two legs remaining in the 2017/18 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit, Lazarus looks likely to defend his title with his points tally now sitting at 300, well clear of his nearest rival Soho Tribeca who has 165 points.
The $750,000 Miracle Mile at Menangle on February 24 and the $200,000 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on July 21 are the two remaining Grand Circuit features this season.
Next stop for Lazarus will be the Miracle Mile later this month.
And with a stud career impending, there’s a fair chance some of the ‘ladies’ could be left heartbroken too.
It wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened.