Mark Purdon says Lazarus will target several of Australia’s biggest races in the upcoming months after claiming his 14th Group 1 success in the 2017 Tabtouch Inter Dominion final at Gloucester Park last Friday.
Fresh from adding the Inter Dominion crown to his bulging racing resume, Purdon confirmed his champion five-year-old will attempt to plunder more riches from the west in two Group 1 features in January.
In a major boost for Perth harness racing officials, Lazarus will contest the $300,000 Fremantle Pacing Cup on January 12 and the $450,000 WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park a week later.
“Winning Western Australia’s two major races would be a great start to the new year,” said Purdon on Tabradio’s The Sports Daily.
“But the Miracle Mile is another race that you would like to tick off and he is brilliant enough to be able to win it as well.”
Lazarus is set to renew hostilities with Inter Dominion combatants and local stars Soho Tribeca and Chicago Bull in the WA Pacing Cup-Fremantle Pacing Cup double.
Kim Prentice’s Soho Tribeca took the prized scalp of Lazarus in the first Inter Dominion heat on November 24, taking full advantage from barrier two to lead in style.
Lazarus finished runner up again behind Tiger Tara in heat two at Bunbury before rounding out his preparation with a win over stable mate Have Faith In Me.
Purdon said Lazarus finished the Inter Dominion series powerfully, but admitted there were slight concerns after Soho Tribeca took bragging rights in the opening heat.
“It’s not that he wasn’t well, but I knew from the New Zealand Cup he had a couple of days off and had to travel,” Purdon said.
“He settled in good, but I think the travel takes its toll in comparison to last year when we had an extra week up our sleeve with Smolda.
“This year I felt we needed that extra time and he was just remarkable how he improved all the way through the heats.
“He was probably 80 to 85 per cent on the opening night.
“Soho Tribeca did win very very good on the opening night and I knew if he was as good in the final he would take a power of beating.”
Lazarus, who has yet to finish outside of the first three in 40 career starts, has won 33 races for $3, 317,139 in prize money.
Lazarus’ Inter Dominion success takes him past the 13 Group 1 victories of local heroes Im Themightyquinn and Village Kid.
He is also a shade behind the stake earning records of Australian champions Blacks A Fake and Im Themightyquinn and New Zealand star Monkey King.
Image credit: Gloucester Park / Scott Hamilton Media