Day At The Track

Lazarus wins cup in record time

05:46 PM 08 Nov 2016 NZDT
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Lazarus Monbet
Lazarus sensational in winning the Group One $750,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup.
Monbet

Harness racing down under’s biggest day is back for another installment and what a day we have in front of us.

The 113th running of the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup is, of course, the main event but there is a wonderful undercard on the 12 race programme to sink the teeth into as well.

So many questions will be answered over the next few hours notwithstanding whether or not Lazarus will shoot himself into equine immortality by joining other illustrious four-year-olds to win our greatest race.

But there’s also the debate who will reign supreme in the three-year-old feature - the NRM Sires’ Stakes Series Final.

It’s the 33rd edition of this important Group One fixture and there’s nothing clear cut about it with chances aplenty.

Also we see Monbet try to make it back-to-back New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All victories as he works toward Friday’s Group One Dominion Handicap.

Our goal is to bring you all the news from around the stables, bookies updates, snaps from many key players through their social media accounts throughout the day.

So make sure you keep checking back here throughout the day to keep up to date with all the happenings courtesy of Matt Markham and Duane Ranger.

If you haven’t checked it out yet - make sure you read the Harnessed Cup Day Special - a 33 page printable liftout that details all the action ahead of us with news, views, opinions and selections.

 

Find the Cup Day special here: http://infohorse.hrnz.co.nz/dochr/hrw/HarnessedCupDaySpecial2016.pdf

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10:40am: After a slightly cool start to the day, things are starting to heat up temperature wise here at Addington. That should be conducive to some fast times out there on the picture perfect racing surface that has been offered up by the Addington’s Track Manager, John Denton and his team. Expect to see more than a few sub 55 second last 800 metres - especially as the day rolls on. - Matt

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Twitter Update:
Michael Guerin has shared his two main previews ahead of today that were in this morning’s NZ Herald.
@GuerinSports - Why you should back two horses in NZ Cup today http://nzh.tw/11743966

@Guerin Sports - Sires' Stakes sees one take on many http://nzh.tw/11743965

@Guerin Sports - Simple Cup Day plan: Best: Monbet, Field Marshal-Dream About Me quin, Mr Mojito; EW: Star Galleria, Mighty Flying Major; Bolter, Lothario

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Bookies News:
 
The TAB Harness Bookies are running a live blog throughout the day detailing all the betting action as it happens. You can check it out here: https://fixedoddsblog.wordpress.com/ we will bring live updates as they become available to us. - Matt
 
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Stewards News: 
 
Two big pieces of news from the stewards this morning. 
 
The first regards Locharburn who goes around in Race 4 - the Junior Free-For-All. His trainer, Kevin Chapman has advised stewards that they aren't confident the horse can be driven as agressively as he has been in the past due to his heart issue. Don't expect not to see him driven with a sit, but there are no firm plans as of yet on how he will be driven today. 
 
The second slice of news regards Sires' Stakes favourite More The Better. He became cast in his box last week. He has been checked over twice by the All Stars vet and at this stage is clear to start although the Stewards will order another veterinary check prior to him taking his place in the Group One feature. - Matt
 
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Bookies News: 
 
Early Cup Day movers from the bookmakers. 
 
R1 – Idle Monkey opened $16 into $9.  $500 @ $10.

R2 – Boults On Fire opened $4.20 into $2.90.  $2,000 @ $3.20, $1,000 @ $2.90.

R3 – Twelve Monkeys opened $6.60 into $5.20.  $2,000 @ $6.50.

R4 – Field Marshal opened $3.80 into $3.10.  $2,000 @ $3.30, $1,000 @ $3.20.

R5 – No significant moves

R6 – Over $500,000 multi exposure through Monbet.

R7 – Star Galleria opened $4.80 into $3.40.  $1,300 @ $4.80.  $1,000 @ $3.50

R8 – Over $500,000 multi exposure through Mr Mojito.

R9 – Vincent opened $2.70 into $1.85.  $1,800 @ $2.60, $1,000 $2.20 (twice), $2,000 @ $2

R10 – Lazarus opened $4.50 (Futures) now $1.75.  Over $1.25m multi exposure through Lazarus.

R11 – Everybody Knows opened $3.20 into $3.  $2,000 @ $3.20

R12 – Mighty Flying Major opened $5 into $4.  $1,000 @ $5

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 From the TAB: Bookies have opened a market on how many races Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen will win today. Odds are listed below. 

PurdonBets

 Also open is an odds boost on Dream About Me in Race 4 they are offering $2.50 until 12:45pm with a maximum investment of $400 and no multis. 

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11:50am: Less than 20 minutes out from the start of race one and the crowd is building very nicely. Plenty of word around in the first for Glass Half Full, a recent addition to the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen stable after being purchased by Trevor Casey and Graham Bruton - the latter of course of Lyell Creek fame. New Zealand's two leading trotting trainers Paul Nairn and Phil Williamson both have runners in the race. Paul has Lothario and Quevert while Phil is represented by Blazing Under Fire and all three are good each way chances in the opening race of the day. - Matt

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12:30pm: Big push from Mark Purdon for Boults On Fire in Race 2 in a race where they have five runners engaged. It's hard to see the winner not coming from their stable with great chances like Riccardo, Augusta and Smiley Sophie also lining up to take them on. Tim Butt has a nice horse in the race in Letsgotothehop - a long way from being the finished product, but he has got a decent sort of motor hidden away in there. Could surprise them. 

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Bookies News: Ahead of Race 2 the money keeps rolling in for Boults On Fire. 

In Race 2, Leg 1 of the Early Quaddie, Boults On Fire has been well backed including: $1,000 @ $3.60 $2,000 @ $3.20 $1,000 @ $2.90 #NZCup16

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Race 1: $20,000 Garrards Horse & Hound Handicap for the C2 and faster trotters.

Winner: Lothario.

Trainer: Paul Nairn

Driver: David Butt.

Owners: R J Paterson, Mrs L A Paterson, Birchbrook Breeding Ltd.

Breeders: Gaby Maghzal, Julie Maghzal.

Time: 4:04.5 - MR: 2:02.9 800m: 59.0 - 400m: 29.6.

Margins: 1/2 Length, 3-1/2 lengths, 2-1/4 lengths.

2nd: Glass Half Full. 3rd: Little Mo.

By Duane Ranger

The injecting of Lothario's joints a couple of weeks ago by his master Canterbury trainer Paul Nairn has worked the oracle following the first race on New Zealand Cup Day.

Driven by David Butt the 6-year-old free-wheeled in front and proved too strong for his 15 opponents in the $20,000 Garrards Horse & Hound Handicap for the C2 and faster trotters.

"I was able to dictate all the terms with him today and he felt extra. He was happy bowling along in front. He was getting tired towards the end of the race but he's a wonder stayer.

"The way he's developing he could line up in next year's Dominion," Butt said.

Lothario was impressive beating the favourite Glass Half Full (Mark Purdon), who broke at the start, by half a length. Little Mo and Clint Ford were 3-1/2 lengths back in third.

Butt said he Lothario was likely to start again on Friday in one of the supporting trotting races to the Group One Dominion Trot.

"He felt real nice today and gave me the impression he can go on with it. He's a credit to Paul. he was spot on today," said Butt.

Lothario has now won five of his 35 starts and just on $50,000 in stakes. It was his fifth win at Addington raceway and first from two starts over the extreme distance.

Lothario is by Love You and is out of Ten To One, which makes him a full brother to the 16-win open class trotter Habibti, who starts in race six today.

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SMILEY SOPHIE WIN 6573

Race 2: Hydroflow Cup Day Maiden Mobile Pace

Winner: Smiley Sophie

Trainer: Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen

Driver: Matt Anderson

Owners: J A Gibbs, Mrs A Gibbs, Mrs S L Tucker, Mrs J L Wilson, j s Glasgow, Mrs T F Glasgow.

Breeders: R A Yarndley, Mrs J V Yarndley  

Time: 2:23.1- MR: 1:56.6 800m: 59.1 - 400m: 29.0

Margins: Long Neck, 1 ¼ lengths, 2 lengths

2nd: Shineonyoucrazydiamond. 3rd: Riccardo

By Matt Markham

Matt Anderson is pleased he only had to wait 12 months to get his maiden Cup Day victory.

The young horseman, who is making big strides early on in his career when close to grabbing that win last year when beaten a short margin on board Blackguard’s Corner but made up for it today when he guided Smiley Sophie to success for his employers, Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.

“The boss just beat me last year so I was pretty keen to make up for it this time around,” Anderson said.

“I thought before the race she might be a bit of a chance with the right run and it turned out to be right because it all worked out perfectly.”

Anderson managed to lead early with the three-year-old filly and then chose the right horse to hand up to in Letsgotothehop who held the lead until the final bend.

“When Blair (Blair Orange) came looking I thought he was a good horse to hand up to, but then almost straight after that I was starting to wonder if he was because a few of the others looked like they were going to have a look at him.

“Luckily he stayed in front though and she travelled off the back really well.

“It’s a big thrill to win on a day like this in these colours.”

A half-sister to former Sires’ Stakes Final winner, Stunin Cullen, Smiley Sophie had form in behind the very talented Delightful Memphis so her $18 price tag, on reflection, seems well over the odds.

Half-way down the straight the race looked likely to belong to Shineonyoucrazydiamond and Dexter Dunn who after getting a dream run hit the front but wasn’t able to hold on for victory.

Stablemates of the winner; Riccardo, Augusta and Boults On Fire filled the next three spots. 

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 1pm: Strong push for the Paul Nairn trained Waterloo Sunset here and it's almost a carbon copy of Lothario early on. He gets in perfectly after dropping back in grade and has been going some handy races in the best trotting fields. Looks a good each way chance. Strong hopes off the front include Hey Yo, Le Leivre's Gift, Twelve Monkeys and off marks further back Royal Shine and also Springbank Eden. An interesting contest. - Matt

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 Bookies Update: The money just keeps on rolling in for Lazarus. This through a wee while ago. 

LazarusBigBet

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 WATERLOO SUNSET WIN 6659

Race 3: RNP Homes Ltd Handicap Trot

Winner: Waterloo Sunset

Trainer: Paul Nairn

Driver: Bob Butt

Owners: Red and White Synd. Rona McKay, Clive McKay, P C Nain Ltd.

Time: 3.17.5 - MR: 2.02 - 800m: 58.0 - 400m: 29.6

Margins: 1 ½ lengths, 3/4 length, 2 ½ lengths

2nd: Any Old Way 3rd: Jayceekay

By Duane Ranger

Two trotting races down on Cup Day 2016 and both have been won by the masterclass of squaregaiter conditioning – Paul Nairn.

The Nairn trained Waterloo Sunset led most of the way to win today’s third event - the  $20,000  RNP Homes Handicap for the C4 to Oc trotters - 2600m stand.

For good measure the Nairn trained Any Old Way  finished second giving the Leeston trainer the quinella. Jayceekay (Tony Herlihy MNZM) was third.

David Butt drove Nairn’s first winner in race one (Lothario) and this time his son Bob did the driving.

“He felt so good when he got to the front. He’s a bit of a head-case and you never know what Waterloo Sunset you are going to get.

“Today we got the good one and on his day he’s a solid trotter. He’s a nice gaited horse,” Butt said.

It was Waterloo Sunset’s first win since Show Day last year and he has now won seven of his 34 starts and third at Addington.

“I was quite confident when I felt the way he was bowling along in front. He’s a nice horse who could still race against the best one day,” Butt said.

“I personally thought he was the best horse in the field – and I drove him that way,” he added.

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 Bookies Update: Where the weight of the money is going ahead of the Junior Free-For-All. 

juniorffa

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1:30pm: Hard to see Dream About Me rolled in Race 4. Mark Purdon thinks she pretty close to the boys, and he means Lazarus, Have Faith In Me and Smolda - so she should really be winning this. Field Marshal might get the chance to sneak the victory here. He could be the early leader with Locharburn likely to go back at the start along with Dream About Me. He's a very serious horse and would be a contender in the Cup if he was to start. - Matt

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DRAM ABOUT ME OUTSIDE WIN 2959

Race 4: Home And Family Group Three  $80,000 Granite Benchtop New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All

Winner:  Dream About Me.

Trainer:  Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.

Driver:  Mark Purdon.

Owner:  C J Roberts, Est Mrs J L Roberts, P G Kenny, Mrs M L Kenny

Breeders:  Charles Roberts.

Time:  3:10.3. MR:  1:58.2. 800m:  54.8. 400m:  27 even.

Margins:  Neck, head, half a length.

2nd:  Locharburn. 3rd:  Field Marshall.

By Matt Markham

The battle is set for Friday - The Queen taking on the potential King.

And you get the impression from Mark Purdon that his newest superstar pacing mare, Dream About Me will have no issues handling a step up to the big time when she tackles the Group One New Zealand Free-For-All.

“There’s nothing between her and our best male pacers,” Purdon said.

“She’s got that real will to win, a little bit like Lazarus does I guess you could say. She just sticks her neck out when she needs too and really digs deep for you.”

Purdon admitted to being a little nervous when he went back early from behind the gate and Field Marshal got such an easy time of it early on in the race.

But when Locharburn moved in front of him and dragged the mare into the race the concerns subsided.

“She just relaxed beautifully outside the leader and then dug when I asked her too.

“They were two very good horses she ran past at the top of the straight.”

Dream About Me’s win continued this incredible run for Charlie Roberts breed on Cup Day who have managed to pick up a victory without fail over the past few years.

Locharburn was a brave second after doing the mid race work while Field Marshal was strong in third.

All three will now head to Friday’s Free-For-All joining many of the contenders from this afternoon’s Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup. 

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 2:04pm: One of the trickier races of the day this one. Robert and John Dunn hold a strong hand with Dancing In The Dark and American Tart - both of whom were outstanding at the Cup Trials last week. One should lead and the other should get in the race during the middle stages. Potentially the chance for another big price winner here - expect a big run from Gupta's Cullen who has been a revelation since joining Jonny Cox's stable. - Matt

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Facebook Update: This from the Harness Racing New Zealand Facebook Page. 

hrnz post

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AMERICAN TART ACTION 6968

Race 5: Colgate Optic White Mobile Pace

Winner: American Tart

Trainer: Robert Dunn – Driver: Dexter Dunn

Owners: R C Courtney, J D McAllister, P D McAllister

Breeders: R C Courtney

Time: 3.10.7 – MR: 1:58.0 – 800m: 59.0 – 400m: 29.6

Margins: 1 ½ lengths, 1 length, 6 ½ lengths

2nd: Real Torque – 3rd: Runaway Star

By Matt Markham

If he was surprised by the fresh up effort of American Tart, then John Dunn certainly wasn’t showing it.

Fresh up since having issues back in March, the daughter of American Ideal made up for lost time with a rugged, yet oddly appealing, fresh up victory on the biggest of stages.

Off the back of some strong trial form the dour mare made a massive mid-race move to find the lead at the winning post with a lap left to run and never looked back  - grinding her rivals into submission.

“She’s pretty brave, she just keeps going,” Dunn said.

“I knew she would run a big race, she’s a pretty good horse. I got going probably too early considering the speed they were running, but once we had committed we had to keep going.”

A winner now of four of his six career starts, American Tart is a horse going places – although Dunn isn’t too keen to head to take on the best of her sex at this early stage.

“The four-year-old mare division is pretty strong this season and I don’t think we need to chuck her in the deep end just yet.

“Provided she pulls up well, we will look to back her up on Friday and see what happens and then make some plans from there.”

The victory continued this great run of form for Dunn and his father Robert as they continue to make their dual stable set up work with stables in Auckland and at Woodend Beach.

Real Torque looked desperately unlucky after being held up on the last bend , finding the line strongly.

Runaway Star, who followed American Tart around was a brave third after doing her fair share of work.  

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2:40pm: Interesting wee race the Trotting FFA - Sheemon and Habibti both have good gate speed - Marcoola is more likely to roll across them than blow them off the track early. After that though, it seems just a case of Monbet working into it at some point and being too good. So, sit back and watch a superstar go about his business. - Matt

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 3:10pm: Another great edition of this Sires' Stakes Final is upon us. And what a race it should be. Star Galleria looks set to lead from his good draw but there will be pressure from More The Better, You Gotta Have Faith & Ultimate Machete from the All Stars team as well as potentially others. Bad draws seem to go out the window in this race so anything could happen. Look for fast-finishes from Tiger Thompson and Mongolian Storm as well as Jack's Legend. - Matt 

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Twitter Updates: Some reaction to the win of Monbet in the NZ Trotting FFA. 

Michael Guerin ‏@GuerinSports  21s22 seconds ago

Monbet: second line, parked, NZ record. Will end his career one of the all-time greats. Runner-up damn good too

Brad Taylor ‏@brad_taylor29  13m13 minutes ago

Don't mind watching trotters like that! Monbet huge winning there! #NZCupDay

Jason Tan ‏@JSLTan  14m14 minutes ago

Monbet over Marcoola, what a trotting race that was @AddingtonNZ! Fantastic finish. #NZCupDay

The Trots ‏@HRVnews  15m15 minutes ago

Monbet brave winner, Kyvalley Blur runs a drum for 3rd in NZ Trot Group 1. Great drive/training performance by our adopted Kiwis #Trots

Mark Jenner ‏@trotbuff   17m17 minutes ago

You won't see a better race between two complete stars. Monbet grabs Marcoola right on the line and says I am still king

Matt Markham ‏@MattMarkham07  15m15 minutes ago

Only Ricky May. Could do what Ricky May just did. That's how you look after a horse but get the result ahead of a Gr.1 in 3 days.

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MONBET WIN 3012

Race 6: The Group One $80,000 Granite Benchtop New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All.

Winner:  Monbet.

Trainer:  Greg and Nina Hope.

Driver:  Ricky May.

Owners:  G P Hope, Mrs N M Hope, M J Molloy.

Breeders:  Greg and Nina Hope.

Time:  2:21.7. MR:  1:56.9. 800m:  57.3. 400m:  28.9.

Margins:  Half a head, 1-3/4 lengths, 2-1/2 lengths.

2nd:  Marcoola. 3rd:  Kyvalley Blur.

By Duane Ranger

Relief.

That’s how driver Ricky May described Monbet’s 22nd  win in 33 starts in today’s Group One $80,000 Granite Benchtop New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All.

The Greg and Nina Hope trained 5-year-old not only got the measure of second favourite Marcoola (Clint Ford) by half a head, but he also smashed Stig’s 2009 New Zealand record by exactly one second.

The son of Love You stopped the clock in 2:21.7 (mile rate 1:56.9) with final 800m and 400m sprints of 57.3 and 28.9.

It was also May’s fourth win in the race.

“I drove him a bit precious today and I almost blew it because of that. I was real anxious the last 20 metres but then his class prevailed. He’s an exceptional trotter – the best I have sat behind,” May said.

Marcoola set a solid clip in front and May was delighted with the way Monbet kept giving.

“We worked for 1000m and were wide and then he still had some left. I ducked in behind the pace-maker at the top of the straight to give him a bit of a breather.

“There’s a big race we have to worry about  on Friday,” May said.

Monbet’s 10th  win on the track took his stake earnings to over $600,000.

“He could have won easier than that. I almost cost him,” a modest May said.

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ULTIMATE MACHETE ACTION 7477

RACE 7: NRM SIRES STAKES SERIES 33 FINAL

Winner: Ultimate Machete

Trainers: Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen – Driver: Natalie Rasmussen

Owners: Mrs G & P Kennard, K Riseley, G Douglas, Mrs M & P Creighton

Breeders: K G Walsh, G P Walsh

Time: 2:16.5 (NZ Record) – MR: 1.52.7 – 800M: 55.9 – 400M: 28.4

Margins: 1 length, 3 ½ lengths, 4 1.2 lengths

2nd: More The Better, 3rd: Jack’s Legend

By Matt Markham

Natalie Rasmussen might be in line for the understatement of the year after her post race comment regarding Ultimate Machete.

In her usually understated manner, the brilliant horsewoman, summed up the all-comers national record breaking performance with three perfect words.

“He’s pretty tough.”

The thing is, tough doesn’t get close to what Ultimate Machete achieved.

Three wide for the first third of the race, then parked he served it up to Star Galleria from the 1000 metre mark before running away at the top of the straight.

With a class animal like More The Better sitting on his back, many could have expected last season’s two-year-old of the year to come out and run straight past his stablemate, but there was none of that with Ultimate Machete finding all the way to the line.

“We always knew he would come back a really good horse as a three-year-old,” Rasmussen said.

“The Derbies look ideal for him really.”

The race wasn’t without drama though.

Mongolian Storm was late scratched after he lashed out with both back legs and got himself tangled in his sulky and then there was plenty of galloping and side-stepping throughout the 1950 metre event.

The win gave All Stars their third successive victory in the race following Lazarus and Have Faith In Me but also gave Phil and Glenys Kennard and Kevin Riseley back-to-back wins in the race.

They are joined in the ownership of the Bettor’s Delight colt by Gavin Douglas and Phil and Margaret Creighton. 

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4pm: Potential superstar in line in the next in Mr Mojito. He's headed to Perth for the Golden Nugget and even with a second line draw he should be too good here. His stablemate Superfecta looks a great place option. Walkinshaw might sneak under the guard, he was supposed to go close at Kaikoura before he missed away. Hard to go past the 13 though. - Matt 

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MR MOJITO ACTION ONE 7694

Race 8: The $20,000 Pascoes The Jewellers Mobile.

Winner:  Mr Mojito.

Trainer:  Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.

Driver:  Natalie Rasmussen.

Owners:  Butterworth racing Syndicate.

Breeders:  B L Calder, Mrs K E Calder.

Time:  3:06.3. MR:  1:55.3. 800m:  55.2. 400m:  28.4.

Margins:  1-1/2 lengths, 3-1/2 lengths, 2-1/2 lengths.

2nd:  Captain Dolmio. 3rd:  Ears Burning.

By Duane Ranger

Natalie Rasmussen smashed her second New Zealand record with in the space of 45 minutes following today’s eighth race - the $20,000 Pascoes The Jewellers Mobile for C3 to C4 Pacers.

This time she was behind the $1.20 hot favourite Mr Mojito who paced the 2600m mobile in  3:06.3. This was was 0.2 second quicker than Locharburn and Christen Me’s previous national record.

“He’s a lovely horse who just keeps getting better and better. He had to be good today because he was made to work,” Rasmussen said.

Mr Mojito went and sat outside the pace-making Captain Dolmio (Nathan Williamson) at the 1,000m and the latter never relented until late in the race.

“That was a real dog fight. We really had to work hard to get past him. This was easily his best race yet. He felt super today,” said Rasmussen who trains the 4-year-old with Mark Purdon at Rolleston.

The son of Real Desire and Wanaka Bay has now won seven of his nine starts and just on $50,000. That was his fifth win from six starts at Addington.

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4:30pm: Big push for Vincent here after he opened at $2.60 in the first markets. In to $1.80 now and expected to just win. Not 100 per cent certain he's a good thing. This is a really good field. Bailey's Rock is a good each way chance and I got a really good feel from Brendon Hill about his runner, Cruzy Dude. - Matt

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THE FIXER ACTION 7863

Race 9: The Avon City Ford Mobile Pace

Winner: The Fixer

Trainers: Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen – Driver: Natalie Rasmussen

Owners: Mrs G & P Kennard, Mrs P Gillan, R J Fleetwood, R J Magness

Breeders: J Green, B Hughes, Mrs P Hughes

Time: 2:19.5 – MR: 1:55.1 – 800m: 56.1 – 400m: 28.7

Margins: Neck, 6 lengths, 1 ¼ lengths.

By Matt Markham

The inkling came for Natalie Rasmussen, in their final hit out ahead of Cup Day, that The Fixer might be able to beat Vincent and 72 hours later, it proved to be correct.

Continuing her domination of the driving ranks throughout the day, Rasmussen again pulled all the right reins with the lightly raced three-year-old to get up the passing lane and surpass her high-classed stablemate.

“On his work late last week and into the weekend I thought he was closing the gap,” she said.

“He was working as good, if not a little bit better then Vincent, so while I’m surprised at the result, I guess I’m not really if that makes sense.”

The win took the All Stars haul for the day to five with a further two possible victories in the final three races.

A winner now of two of his three starters, The Fixer was on the ballot for the Sires’ Stakes Final but didn’t make the field.

“He’s probably just a little bit below the big gun three-year-olds, but he’s going to be a pretty nice horse in time I think.”

Rasmussen extended her haul for the day to three with the victory – a far cry from last year when she went winless with Purdon exclaiming that she might be paying him back as he walked off the track with Vincent.

The favourite was far from disgraced in second after working hard in the middle stages while The Governor boomed home for young trainer Tom Bagrie to finish in third position.

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5:05pm: Here we are, the big dance is finally upon us. After months of speculation and talking and writing it all goes out the window in the next few minutes as we enjoy one of the greatest spectacles in NZ sport. Sit back, enjoy it and hopefully you back the winner. Smolda still for me, Lazarus and Have Faith In Me are logicals. Look for a big run from Christen Me. 

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Twitter reacts to Lazarus: 

Michael Guerin ‏@GuerinSports  3m3 minutes ago

I have watched harness racing almost every day for the last 30 years and have never seen anything like that. Thanks, Lazarus

Mark Jenner ‏@trotbuff   17m17 minutes ago

I will state right now, we will talk about this race for the next 20 years. Might be the best ever #lazarus

Jason Bonnington ‏@JasonBonnington  18m18 minutes ago

You are not supposed to win New Zealand Cups like that #lazarus #freak #rockstar #king

Dave Cannan ‏@thewashodt  5m5 minutes ago

Lazarus, 10 length winner of NZ Cup in 3:53.7. That's worth coming out of Twitter retirement for!! Never thought I would ever see that

Scott Hill ‏@Hillbomber  15m15 minutes ago

4 year olds shouldn't be able to do that to quality older opposition #freak #lazarus #NZCup16

Chris Butt ‏@C_Butt_Racing  16m16 minutes ago

Lazarus in glorious isolation

Gareth Hall ‏@ghall27  16m16 minutes ago

Emotional Mark Purdon says one of the greatest moments he's ever had in Harness Racing after that win with Lazarus in the New Zealand Cup !

Woodlands Stud NZ ‏@WoodlandsStudNZ  18m18 minutes ago

Lazurus becomes Harness racing latest milionaire. Last three cup winners to Bettors Delight! #thegreatest

NZ Harness Tips ‏@NZHarnessTips  21m21 minutes ago

Never seen a horse win for fun in an NZ Cup like that before..Lazarus you beast

Matt Markham ‏@MattMarkham07  22m22 minutes ago

Wow. That's all I've got right how. #Lazarus

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5:47pm: Hard to come down from the high following that incredible performance. Just simply staggering. Like nothing I have ever seen before. A C1 trot will probably do that though. The toughest of the day. Beg Hall might be the best horse in the race, but Kingdom Come and Everybody Knows are strong chances too. My bias says Jean Sebastien each way all day. But as I said I am biased. - Matt

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LAZARUS SALUTE 8131

Race 10: The Group One $750,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup.

Winner:  Lazarus.

Trainer:  Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. Driver:  Mark Purdon.

Owners:  Mrs G J Kennard, P I Kennard, T G Casey, K J Riseley.

Breeders:  G Chin, Studholme Bloodstock Limited

Time:  3:53.1. MR:  1:57.2. 800m:  55.3. 400m:  27.1.

Margins:  10 lengths, 2-3/4 lengths, 1-3/4 lengths.

2nd:  Tiger Tara. 3rd:  Titan Banner.

By Duane Ranger

Wow!

That’s the only way to describe today’s  Group One $750,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup.

The favourite Lazarus not only dealt to his 14 opponents by a whopping 10 lengths but he also smashed  Adore Me’s  2014  New Zealand  Cup  and  race record by 1.5 seconds.

Co-trainer and driver Mark Purdon had to work hard to get past pace-maker and stablemate Smolda with a lap-and-half to go, but once he got there it was virtually game over.

They controlled the race from that point coming home in 55.3 and 27.1. The winning mile rate was 1:57.2.

Purdon had a tear in the winner’s enclosure after the 3200m standing start staying test.

“I just can’t believe what this horse has just done. This will go down as one of the greatest moment in my harness racing career.

“I know I’ve won the big race before but never this easily. I was confident going into the race but you can never be too confident in a race like the Cup,” Purdon said.

“He’s left me speechless,” he added.

The 4-year-old son of Bettor’s Delight and Splendid Dream has now won 18 of his 21 starts and  almost $1.5m in stakes. That was his seventh win at Addington and first over the distance.

“It’s unbelievable what has just happened. It’s going to take me a while for this to sink in. Horses just don’t do that,” Purdon said.

Purdon has now won four New Zealand Cups. Two with Il Vicolo in 1995 and 1996 and Adore Me two years ago.

6:15pm: Last race charlie, the get out stakes, the final flourish - call it what you like but we've got here. Blair Orange gave a huge push to him when spoken to in our Cup liftout. He's drawn well and likes to race on the speed so will give you a great sight in the finale of Cup Day. Letspendanitetogetha might be the best each way chance in the race and who would write off the chances of Benicio as Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen shoot for seven for the day. - Matt

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EVERYBODY KNOWS ACTION 8438

Race 11: The $20,000 Recruitment Network C1 Trot.

Winner:  Everybody Knows.

Trainer:  Greg and Nina Hope. Driver:  Ricky May.

Owners:  D R Lauren, Dr P J Gerard, A R Pullar, Mrs B E Pullar.

Breeders:  Dennis Lauren and Dr Pip Gerard.

Time:  3:22.7. MR:  2:05.4. 800m:  59.9. 400m:  36.4.

Margins:  4-3/4 lengths, 1-1/4 lengths, ½ a neck.

2nd:  Young Stranger. 3rd:  Kingdom Come.

By Duane Ranger

Greg and Nina Hope reaffirmed themselves as two of the best trotters in the land when Everybody Knows cleared out to win race 11.

The 5-year-old Quite Easy gelding was slow away and then worked a heap to go around to sit outside the leader.

Then in the lane he simply left his opposition to it winning the$20,000 Recruitment Network C1 Trot - 2600 stand  as he liked.

“This was a very good run because he did a lot of work in this race and yet had plenty left at the end. He was right on his game today. He’s even stronger this time in,” said driver Ricky May.

Everybody Knows stopped the clock in 3:22.7 (mile rate 2:05.4) with final 800m and 400m sprints of 59.9 and 30.4.

That was his fifth win in 33 starts and third at Addington Raceway. It was also his second run back this campaign after winning first up after a five month spell at Addington on October 21.

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MIGHTY FLYING MAJOR ACTION 8547

Race 12: Blue Star Taxis Mobile Pace

Winner: Mighty Flying Major

Trainers: Ken & Tony Barron – Driver: Blair Orange

Owners: S R Thompson, G E Dickey

Breeders: Mrs H & L Williams

Time: 2:20.9 – MR: 1:56.3 – 800M: 57.2 – 400M: 28.2

Margins: 1 length, ¾ length, 1 length

By Matt Markham

We are probably not going to ever see the best of Mighty Flying Major – but what’s on offer is still pretty good.

The well-bred gelding, who was good enough to run a huge fourth in a Sires’ Stakes final a few years back, made light work of the last race of the day with a dominant front running display in front of the guiding of Blair Orange.

Leg issues have plagued the talented pacer and put him on the side line for an extended period of time.

“It’s a shame he’s got the issues he’s got because he’s pretty good,” Orange said.

“That was pretty easy for him today, he did what he needed to and did it pretty well.”

Out of the good producing mare, Fleet’s Pocket, Mighty Flying Major worked to the lead inside the mile and never looked back – running from the back straight and holding off all challenges.

It was the first big winner for the newly formed partnership of brothers, Ken and Tony Barron.

“I’ve always had a bit of success here on this day,” Tony said.

“But it’s nice to get one here as part of the new partnership, and this guy is a pretty nice horse.”

Orange said how the gelding pulled up would determine whether or not he would line up again on Friday.

Major Rocket, who settled three back the fence ran home strongly for second while Torrid Bromac who set the early pace was good  in third.

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7pm: So that brings a close to Cup Day 2016. And what a day it has been. We saw something special in Lazarus winning the New Zealand Trotting Cup by a massive 10 lengths in a NZ record time of 3:53.7 - bettering the time set by his former stablemate, Adore Me. Ultimate Machete's smashing Sires' Stakes victory was something to behold. Monbet and Marcoola's length of the straight effort in the NZ Trotting FFA was special. We also saw a wee taste test for Friday's Free-For-All with Dream About Me, Locharburn and Field Marshal seperated by under a length in the Junior FFA - those three in addition to those who come through the Cup will make for a mouth-watering Group One clash on Friday. On behalf of Duane Ranger and myself, it's been a great pleasure to attend and cover another Cup Day. Only 12 months to go until we can do it all again!!! - Matt Markham

Harness Racing New Zealand

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