Lazarus rallies as champ shakes hoof ailment
THE news of good for fans of champion pacer Lazarus - not so good for his rivals.
The Inter Dominion champion has thrilled trainer Mark Purdon with how he has recovered from the hoof problems that threatened to ruin his $1.5 million summer and says he is confident the Hunter Cup is back on the agenda.
Lazarus threw feature race markets into chaos when Purdon revealed on Sunday the great pacer was tender in his hooves after a jaw-dropping second in last Friday night's Fremantle Cup after being three wide throughout the race.
Initially Purdon was concerned the problem could keep Lazarus off the training track for a few weeks and cost his valuable fitness heading toward the $500,000 Hunter Cup at Melton on February 3 and the $750,000 Miracle Mile at Menangle three weeks later.
But after just three days off Lazarus has shown enormous improvement and Purdon was able to jog him in Perth on Wednesday morning.
"I was never going to be sure how long it would take until I had a few days with him but he has improved a lot," Purdon said.
"I was able to get him back jogging today and I am now far more confident he will get to the Hunter Cup and then Menangle for the prelude and hopefully the Miracle Mile.
"So I'd expect to be in both of those."
That will see Lazarus firmly at the head of markets for both races once they re-open, with almost bookmakers suspending markets on the two great races when news of his problems broke.
He will however miss Friday night's West Australian Cup as will stablemate Ultimate Machete.
The four-year-old was also foot sore after finishing fourth in the Fremantle Cup and Purdon says he will now be set for the Chariots Of Fire in Sydney on February 10.
In their absence former Miracle Mile winner Have Faith In Me (barrier four) will be the New Zealand rep in the West Australian Cup.