Trainer in awe of Lazarus after Cup win
THREE days ago trainer Mark Purdon was worried.
But after Lazarus on Saturday night continued his surge up the leaderboard of harness racing's all-time greats with a thrashing of Australasia's elite pacers in the $500,000 Hunter Cup, Purdon shook his head and said he should have known better.
Lazarus clipped a second off the track record mile rate for 2760m set last season.
He did it despite being forced to sit parked and amid fitness doubts.
He also did it three days after being smashed in track work by his own stablemate Heaven Rocks, who was a luckless third.
"I'll admit on Wednesday I was worried," said a beaming Purdon, who trains Lazarus with Natalie Rasmussen.
"I shouldn't have been. When it comes to race night Laz knows. He did all that work and they tell me broke the track record, he is just an incredible horse."
After Lazaruns was forced to miss the West Australia Cup two weeks ago with a hoof problems, Purdon said the Hunter Cup win was one of the most satisfying of his career.
But Lazarus still had one jewel in harness racing's crown to secure, the $750,000 Miracle Mile at Menangle on February 24.
He will contest a prelude there on February 17 and Purdon has no concerns about the hoof soreness returning.
"He will be fine. He recovered from that pretty quickly so I don't have any concerns going to Sydney."
Beaten driver Greg Sugars, who finished second on Soho Tribeca, said he had no answer against Lazarus.
"My horse went great and I was happy enough with my drive but really what can you do against that?" Sugars said.