Lazarus and Mark Purdon on their way to a track record win at Gloucester Park. Photo: Ashlea Brennan.
Lazarus was a resounding victor in the final round of Inter Dominion heats at Gloucester Park early on Saturday morning (NZ time), lowering a track record in the process.
His co-trainer Mark Purdon was playing statues in the sulky in the run to the line, barely moving as he ran a 1.54.5 mile-rate for the 2536-metre journey.
The time of 3.00.7 was 0.2secs inside the previous mark, set by champion pacer Im Themightyquinn in a 2013 Inter Dominion heat.
“He really won with a bit in hand and he really won well,” said Purdon in his post-race comments.
“Down the back we were rolling along and he felt really strong.
“I had a brief look around and the others were struggling at that point.”
A searing early speed duel between Egodan and Yayas Hot Spot told later in the race as both horses dropped out of the race and contention for the $1.1 Million final that they were chasing points for.
Purdon had sat back early with Lazarus from a wide draw before launching around to lead inside the mile.
He was trucking thereafter and Purdon was noticeably thrilled with the performance.
“The key is getting through the heats and you couldn’t be happier with the way he has and the way he performed tonight.”
Looking towards next week’s final, which Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen won last year with Smolda, he says Lazarus will only need to hold his current form to be an imposing figure.
“Even if he was as good as he is tonight, he’d be very hard (to beat).”
The story of the night was perhaps the resurrection of Purdon and Rasmussen’s other charge, Have Faith In Me, who was a brilliant second to his stablemate after sitting parked.
With a sale to American interests on the horizon after a lackluster first two heat runs, he produced a run out of the box to finish in a four-way tie for the tenth and final spot.
A three-man Racing and Wagering Western Australia panel, led by Chief Handicapper Warren Wishart, used their discretion to elect Have Faith In Me in to the spot ahead of Ohoka Punter, Devendra and Major Crocker.
Earlier in the night, local hope Chicago Bull led the whole way and burned home in 54.5secs to win the seventh heat in the hands of Gary Hall Jnr, outpointing a brave Tiger Tara.
And in the middle heat of the night, Victorian pacer San Carlo defied the challenges of Soho Tribeca and Lennytheshark to lead all the way for driver Rebecca Bartley.
Completing an excellent night for Purdon and Rasmussen was the all-the-way win of Piccadilly Princess in the A$30,000 Parliamentarians Cup for Mares
The draw for the A$1.1 Million Inter Dominion Grand Final will be held on Sunday.
Inter Dominion Final Field: Soho Tribeca, Chicago Bull, Lazarus, Tiger Tara, Lennytheshark, San Carlo, Galactic Star, Shandale, Vultan Tin, Have Faith In Me.
Emergencies (in order): Ohoka Punter, Devendra, Major Crocker, The Bucket List.