FREAKISH pacer Lazarus will bypass the New Zealand Free-For-All in preference for the Inter Dominion.
With the Group One scheduled to be conducted in Addington on Friday, Lazarus will already be on his way to Western Australia.
The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained stallion leaves the Shaky Isles on Thursday before catching a connecting flight to Perth on Sunday.
Lazarus will be looking to emulate his recently-retired stablemate Smolda, which won last year’s Inter Dominion Final at Gloucester Park.
“With the flights being the way they are, he simply won’t be here for the Free-For-All,” Purdon said. “He won last year’s Free-For-All but didn’t contest the Inter Dominion.
“This year he’ll be in Perth and hopefully he can do what Smolda did when he was over there.”
Fresh from his second demolition job the New Zealand Cup this afternoon, Lazarus is listed as a $2.80 favourite for the time-honoured Championship.
Driven by Purdon in the Cup, Lazarus began well to lead from barrier six with the remainder of the 3200-metre feature a formality.
Never seriously challenged, the five-year-old scored by five metres from Jack’s Legend, with Tiger Tara a metre away third in 1:58.1.
“Once he got away well and found the front he always had the race in his keeping,” Purdon said. “He’s the perfect horse and has a great temperament for a stallion.
“He’s just a pleasure to train and a lovely horse.”
Stretching his record to an imposing 31 wins and five placings from 36 starts for earnings of $2,678,946, Lazarus is part-owned by Kevin Riseley, who co-owns Inter Dominion second favourite, Lennytheshark.
- PAUL COURTS