NZ HARNESS NEWS
OCTOBER 6, 2017
LAZARUS WINS SECOND CANTERBURY CLASSIC
Champion pacer Lazarus rose to the occasion while “hype horse” Heaven Rocks ran last, turning NZ Cup markets into confusion after the five-horse $50,0000 Inkwise Canterbury Classic at Addington on Friday night.
Harness racing’s all-conquering Allstars stables of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, despite, running the top three in the Classic (Have Faith In Me and Dream About Me filling the minor placings), were left shocked by the run of Heaven Rocks.
He was the pre-post race favourite and had also headed Lazarus in the pre-post NZ Cup market.
Driver Natalie Rasmussen said it felt as if the giant-sized pacer had broken down.
Heaven Rocks was to undergo a veterinary inspection by the club’s veterinarian with findings to be released later.
TAB bookmakers, who had Heaven Rocks into $2.20 to win the NZ Cup, and Lazarus out to $2.30, reacted immediately.
They brought Lazarus, last year’s 10-length cup, straight into $2, and eased Heaven Rocks to $2.80, then suspended the option due to concerns over the latter.
Lazarus, who also won last year’s Canterbury Classic en-route to winning the NZ Cup, has never finished out of a placing and has only been beaten five times in 33 starts.
He lifted his earnings past the $2.2 million mark for owners Glenys and Phil Kennard, Trevor Casey and Kevin Riseley, after leading out, trailing Have Faith In Me from the 1300m.
Co-trainer and driver Mark Purdon, who would have preferred an extra week to fit Lazarus for a return to racing, asked him for just enough to win, scoring by a head.
Lazarus paced the 2600m in a comfortable 3:19.3. The lead time picked up over the final 800m in 55.3s and the last 400m in a sharp 26.1s.
Mark Purdon was recording his fourth training win in the race, having earlier won with Jack Cade in 2003, Classic Cullen (co-trained with with Grant Payne) in 2007, and Lazarus (co-trained with Natalie Rasmussen) last year.
The concern over Heaven Rocks, also co-raced by the Kennards’ and Mr Riseley, added to a challenging first half of the programme for the Allstars stable.
They had debutante Funatthebeach late scratched out of the opening Addington NRM Sires Stakes 3YO Heat of the spring on veterinary advice with a suspected virus.
Chase Auckland, fancied to win the Heat, came out on race morning, due to getting cast in his box on Thursday night and being slightly lame when jogged on Friday morning.
Another Allstars runner in Prince Fearless was strongly supported in the Canterbury Park Trotting Cup but ran eighth, while another of their starters Renske B led up as favourite in another support race, but tired to run fifth.
The Allstars stabled finished the night with their second win.
Their smart 3YO pacer All U Need Is Faith ran clear to win a R60 pace in 3:12.7 (mobile 2600m) to bring up Mark Purdon’s 1999th NZ training win.
- NZ HARNESS NEWS