October 24, 2017 Paul Courts
SUNDAY’S Kaikoura Cup is the next target for freakish pacer Lazarus as he works towards his New Zealand Cup defence.
Speaking after Lazarus’ success in this afternoon’s Ashburton Flying Stakes, co-trainer Mark Purdon explained the stallion needs the extra outing before tackling the time-honoured handicap.
Lazarus has had two starts from a six-month break, registering impressive wins on both occasions.
“That was only his second run back and he’s done very well,” Purdon said. “He felt sharper than his previous run and will be better for it again.
“He’s had one run less than last year before the New Zealand Cup and probably needs it to lift his fitness right up, so at this stage we will head to Kaikoura with him.”
Driven by Purdon during his latest triumph, Lazarus led home a stable trifecta as Dream About Me and Heaven Rocks – driven by co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen – filled the placings.
Rating a comfortable 1:58.1 over 2400 metres, the five-year-old extended his record to an imposing 29 wins and five placings from 34 starts for earnings of $2,238,262.
Following his Cup defence, Lazarus will make the long trip to Western Australia for the Inter Dominion.
Opening heats of the Championship scheduled to be run at Gloucester Park on November 24 – 10 days after the Cup.