Trainer Mark Purdon is confident he can turn champion pacer Lazarus around in time to win Saturday’s Ainsworth Miracle Mile.
But he knows it won’t be easy.
The great Kiwi pacer’s campaign hit a judder bar at Menangle on Saturday night when he was brave but battling third in his Mile prelude won by Tiger Tara.
Beaten off the gate from the ace draw he was then forced to sit parked and it was obvious 500m from home he wasn’t going to win, only his huge heart allowing him to claw his way back to third.
That still earned him his invite to the Mile but he had clearly been feeling the effects of a slight virus that had gone through the Purdon-Rasmussen stable last week.
“We had a few horses get crook but we thought that were well over it,” explained trainer-driver Mark Purdon.
“We had our vet inform the stewards and take blood tests which came back suggesting he was fine to race and then we even had him scoped him on Saturday morning, and it was fine too.
“So I was surprised he raced so flat, as did the rest of the team. He was brave and was running on heart up the home straight but I am glad to get through this and now we have a week to get him back to his best.”
While that was less than ideal for Purdon and an army of punters, the real blow to Lazarus’s Mile hopes came at Sunday’s barrier draw where he was saddled with the outside of the front line.
Since the Miracle Mile move to Menangle a decade ago no horse has even placed from barrier eight.
That saw him drift from $2 to $2.25 with the TAB but he looks certain to get longer as the enormity of the task he faces hits home to punters.
The big winners in the draw were Saturday night’s two prelude winners Tiger Tara (1) and Anything For Love, who has drawn barrier three but will start from two if the emergencies don’t get a start.
The field for the A$750,000 Ainsworth Miracle Mile at Menangle on Saturday night is:
1: Tiger Tara (1)
2: Atomic Red (2)
3: Anything For Love (3)
4: My Field Marshal (4)
5: Jilliby Kung Fu (5)
6: Soho Tribeca (6)
7: Lennytheshark (7)
8: Charlaval (8)
9: Let It Ride (9)
10: Lazarus (10)
Emergencies: Let It Ride, Atomic Red.
For Further information contact Club Menangle Racing Manager David Wonson (02) 4645 2200