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Dream About Me's Inter Dominion campaign mirrors her New Zealand Cup - over before it began. The glamour pacing mare was knocked out of Tuesday's $800,000 New Zealand Cup before she had taken a stride, Seal The Deal swinging around at the start and stopping her in her tracks. Now her connections have decided against putting her on a plane to Perth today to contest the Interdoms, which start tomorrow week. Cup winner Lazarus will go along with Have Faith In Me while their stablemate Piccadilly Princess will contest the mares races at the Perth carnival.   "I was happy for her to go or not go but her owners said they were just as happy for her to stay here," said trainer Mark Purdon. "She can occasionally have hoof problems and the three runs in a week for the heats may not have been the best thing for her. So she will go to the Free-For-All on Friday [tomorrow] then the mares races at Auckland next month and the Auckland Cup again." Dream About Me won the Auckland Cup in race record time last season and could be joined in the race by stablemates Heaven Rocks and Vincent. By not going to Perth she is the surprise entry for tomorrow's $260,000 sprint, while Heaven Rocks is an equally surprise omission. He disappointed Purdon with his manners in the Cup, the big occasion clearly getting to him. Dream About Me would have been favourite for the Free-For-All but has drawn the outside of the front line while New Zealand Cup placegetters Jack's Legend (3) and Tiger Tara (5) are drawn to control the race. Tiger Tara, who was a gigantic third in the Cup after galloping down the back straight when he jumped a mark on the track, was originally set to miss tomorrow's race as he too is heading to Perth. But he is instead flying over the weekend, going from Christchurch to Sydney, Melbourne and then Perth all in one day. The New Zealand TAB has Lazarus $2.40 to win the Inter Dominions, while Australian bookmakers have him as long as $3.20. Another big name hugely disadvantaged by a group one draw tomorrow is Bordeaux in the $300,000 Dominion, with the free-going trotter to start off the second line while brilliant Tuesday's Trotting Free-For-All winner Great Things Happen will start off the front. Michael Guerin

Money talks. And it talks all languages. Champion pacer Lazarus is no exception to this theory as he became the latest harness racing dual winner of the Gr.1 $800,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup at Addington today (Tuesday). Starting as the shortest priced favourite in the races history, punters couldn't get enough of the handsome five-year-old stallion in lead-up to the biggest event on the New Zealand racing calendar. Even today, on race day, punters queued to back the hottest pacing talent in this part of the world and like most with that compelling pulling power, most if not all, were their today to witness a champion in action. By jump time, Lazarus started at odds of $1.40 – almost unthinkable! But there was no cause for concern, a clean getaway had the Mark Purdon trained and driven superstar in front within 400m before turning the 3200m stand start feature into a procession. As it stood, Lazarus had never been beaten once he led and that record remained intact after racing clear in the home straight to score by 5 3/4 lengths from Jacks Legend while the Australian trained Tiger Tara filled third despite breaking with 800m remaining. His winning time was 3:55.0 – a mile rate of 1:58.1. "The start was important and he made a great go of it today,” Purdon said. “He's a pleasure to train. There's no fuss about him, nothing smart about him, he's just one of the boys in the barn and just a lovely horse.” He added. It was Purdon's fifth Cup success - Il Vicolo (1995/96), Adore Me (2014) while Lazarus has now recorded back to back victories. And just like Il Vicolo, Lazarus recorded a slower time in winning his second Cup compared to his maiden triumph. Lazarus now joins Monkey King, Flashing Red, Just An Excuse, Il Vicolo, Lordship, Highland Fling, Haughty, Lucky Jack, Harold Logan, Peter Bingen, Ahuriri, Reta Peter and Wildwood Junior as dual Cup winners. And given his current invincibility, he looms as a fantastic chance of joining triple winners Terror To Love, False Step and Indianapolis next year. With 31 wins from 36 starts and over $2.6 million in the bank, there's reason to believe the best is still to come from this pacing phenomenon and his record breaking mentor. While the Purdon name is synonymous, Mark has easily become the most celebrated in the Cup while father Roy and brother Barry have four victories. Today, a rare feat was achieved between Mark and Barry; a one/two result with Lazarus defeating Jacks Legend. Back in 1996, the brothers finished first and third with Il Vicolo (Mark) winning while Surprise Package (Barry) filled a minor placing. With Ricky May (7) and Cec Devine (6) the most decorated reinsmen in Cup history, Purdon has both gentlemen firmly in his sights with his tally of five. While the efforts of Lazarus and Purdon should be lauded, the deeds of super sire Bettors Delight shouldn’t go unnoticed either. It was a one-two-three finish for the Cams Card Shark stallion while it was his 4th straight Cup winner. The next leg of the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit now heads west, the $1.8 million TABTOUCH Inter Dominion series in Perth starting on November 24. And with two legs of the 2017/18 series locked and loaded, the two pacers equal at the top of the leaderboard with 100 points each are Lennytheshark and Lazarus and now they’re set to square off once again at Gloucester Park. The last time they met, Lennytheshark proved victorious when successful in the Miracle Mile back in February. It also coincides as the last time that Lazarus tasted defeat……nine starts ago! But who will do the talking this time around? Maybe the money will do the talking again? Chris Barsby

Lazarus has won the the harness racing $800,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup in emphatic style once again at Addington Raceway in Christchurch. Lazarus, who won the cup by 10 lengths last year, won easily again, this time by 5-3/4 lengths with enough in the tank for trainer-driver Mark Purdon to give a salute to the crowd before the finish line. "He's a champion," said Purdon, minutes after the win over Jack's Legend and Tiger Tara. Maxim was fourth. Lazarus paid just $1.40 for the win and it was a money back $1 for the place. READ MORE: * Live: NZ Trotting Cup day 2017 * Great clean-up begins after drunken debauchery at Melbourne Cup * Flashback: Kiwi flies to legendary Melbourne Cup win in 1983 * Expensive buy Embellish proves his value with 2000 Guineas win * Gingernuts a 50-50 chance to race again * NZ Cup Day 2017: All set for one of Canterbury's biggest parties ​Purdon, who trains with partner Natalie Rasmussen at Rolleston, controlled the race from soon after the start, though there was chaos there with Ricky May tipped from the cart of Seel The Deal and Lazarus' stablemate Dream About Me had her chances wrecked in the same collision.   GEORGE HEARD/STUFF Lazarus leads the field home once again in the New Zealand Trotting Cup.   Lazarus had the lead after 200m and was never seriously challenged. Purdon urged him to go 400m out and he put a gap on his rivals. It was all too easy. Purdon's brother Barry trained the game runner-up Jack's Legend, while Tiger Tara, now trained in Australia, did extremely well after breaking with about 800m to go, recovering to finish third. Mark Purdon said the key to the race was the start and Lazarus performed brilliantly after some practice at home since his last start.  GEORGE HEARD/FAIRFAX NZ Mark Purdon has combined with Lazarus to win the New Zealand Trotting Cup for the second year running.   Purdon said he had a look around with 400m to go, and said "let's go", pulling Lazarus' earplugs out and the horse responded. "He's a pleasure to train. There's no fuss about him, nothing smart about him, he's just one of the boys in the barn and just a lovely horse," Purdon told Trackside. Lazarus has now triumphed in his last eight starts and his race record stands at 31 wins from 36 starts, for prizemoney of around $2.6 million. Lazarus' next assignment is the Interdominion series in Perth, where he will tackle his Australian nemesis, Lennytheshark. It starts later this month with the final on December 8. Lazarus The Purdon-Rasmussen combination also had double-up success in the Group I Sires Stakes Final, with Chase Auckland keeping his unbeaten record as he marked himself as the horse of the future with a sizzling fast time. The son of Auckland Reactor paced the 1950m in 2:16.1, slicing 0.4sec of Ultimate Machete's national record last year. He followed out pacemaker King of Swing and Natalie Rasmussen just had to wait until the straight when the run presented itself and Chase Auckland sped home to win from a game King Of Swing by 2-3/4 lengths. "He had every opportunity to do it, it turned out perfectly," Rasmussen said. Chase Auckland The promising trotter Great Things Happen won the Group I Free-For-All for trainer-driver Gavin Smith. Mat Kermeen

Hope not but it could be! Long term plans for champion Lazarus have not been decided but Cup Day tomorrow will be the last time he will be seen at Addington in a long while -and maybe  ever. Nobody is taking any extreme options about his longer term future but when he flies out of Christchurch on Saturday en route to Perth that is the last New Zealand will see of him this season. "He will be doing what Smolda and company did last year" Mark said of the Inter Dominions. "He will fly out of Perth after the Inter Doms but to Melbourne and Sydney for the carnival racing there. There is no point in bringing him back here just to fly back to Australia" "I can't see him racing here again this season. The races are just not there.   After the features over there he will be going for a spell. Hopefully he will be back in the spring but you don't look too far ahead with horses even ones as good as him" Lazarus is poised for a lucrative stud career but that is not the main focus of his syndicate of owners. "We are into racing not breeding. Going to stud is not a priority and we hope he can race on" says syndicate leader Phil Kennard. All Stars Stables  

The 23 win pacer Waikiki Beach has been scratched from his cup day assignment, but is likely to start three days later on Show day in the Woodlands New Zealand Pacing Free For All over a mobile 1950m.  The Woodlands New Zealand Pacing Free For All has drawn 17 nominations this year and is a race that will almost certainly include the New Zealand Trotting Cup winner from next Tuesday amongst the starters.   Lazarus won the New Zealand Pacing Free For All last year in a record 1-52.4 mile rate after winning the New Zealand Cup three days earlier. ______________________________ Unbeaten Auckland Reactor gelding Chase Auckland has copped a nasty draw in the $170,000 NRM Sires Stakes Final at Addington on Cup day. Or has he? Depending on scratchings Chase Auckland will start from either two on the second line following out the stablemate All U Need Is Faith, or if the first emergency (The Brooklyn Brawler) comes out, then that means he would start behind King Of Swing, who is a good chance to at least lead early before handing up to either another All Stars attacker, or even Alta Maestro who will surely head forward from his wide draw. Following out King Of Swing could be a blessing in disguise, as Natalie Rasmussen won with The Devils Own from three back on the fence in the PGG Wrightson Yearling Sales Final 2yo back in May this year, beating Alta Maestro who had tried to lead all the way in that race. Auckland Reactor won his first four starts in a row and then the Sires Stakes Final at his fifth start. Chase Auckland has won his first four starts and is having his fifth start in the NRM Sires Stakes on Tuesday. The Alabar Racing Syndicate who own Chase Auckland will be at the track in large numbers will be hoping history can repeat this year with Chase Auckland taking home the major prize. Whatever happens, the NRM Sires Stakes final will be one of the more interesting races on cup day this year.  Note: The All Stars barn will have at least six runners in the NRM Sires Stakes on Tuesday, and their stable have provided the quinella in the Sires Stakes Final for the last three years.   Harnesslink Media

There’s certain symmetry between Mark Purdon and his harness racing All Stars stable and the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup. He is the country’s premier trainer and constantly strives for excellence while the Cup is the biggest racing event staged in the Shaky Isles and only the best survive. The famous livery of blue and silver stars is no stranger to success in the Cup with victories coming via Il Vicolo (1995/96), Adore Me (2014) and Lazarus* last year. But just like his complete domination across the southern hemisphere during the past decade, the record in the New Zealand Cup is equally impressive. Since 2010, the All Stars have either won or been placed in the 3200m standing start classic. Adore Me and Lazarus were completely dominant when triumphant while Sleepy Tripp (2010), Highview Tommy (2011/12), Sushi Sushi (2012), Fly Like An Eagle (2013) and Smolda (2015) all performed admirably when filling minor placings. And that domination could easily continue on Tuesday afternoon at Addington when the stable is represented by five of the 14 runners competing in the $800,000 event. Defending champion Lazarus is lining up as the shortest priced favourite in the races history, the $2.2 million earner is unbeaten this preparation winning all three starts. The Bettors Delight stallion has claimed the Canterbury Classic, Ashburton Flying Stakes and the Kaikoura Cup on his way to this year’s edition, and looked in amazing touch on each occasion. But it’s a slightly different path compared to last year when contesting the New Brighton Classic (3rd behind Franco Nelson & Christen Me), Canterbury Classic (won) and the Ashburton Flying Stakes (won). If successful, Lazarus will join the likes of Monkey King, Flashing Red, Just An Excuse, Il Vicolo, Lordship, Highland Fling, Haughty, Lucky Jack, Harold Logan, Peter Bingen, Ahuriri, Reta Peter and Wildwood Junior as dual Cup winners. Only Terror To Love, False Step and Indianapolis have won the race three times. The race was first staged in 1904. So, with Lazarus leading the charge for the All Stars, other representatives this year include the enigmatic Heaven Rocks, classy mares Piccadilly Princess and Dream About Me plus speed machine Have Faith In Me. Heaven Rocks will be handled as always by Natalie Rasmussen, the only female driver in the event, and Rasmussen is hoping to join Kerryn Manning as a winner of the great race. Several that were left in the wake of Lazarus last year include Tiger Tara, Titan Banner, No Doctor Needed and Have Faith In Me but can they reverse the result this time around? Interestingly, Tiger Tara and Titan Banner who filled placings last year both line up in different stables this year. Tiger Tara is now representing Australia and is prepared by Sydney horseman Kevin Pizzuto while Titan Banner will represent the stable of Graeme Anderson. Cup winning trainers Barry Purdon and Robert Dunn are chasing further success; the iconic horsemen are represented by Jacks Legend and Robbie Burns respectively. Purdon (Mark’s older brother) has won the Cup three times previously with Luxury Liner (1988), Christopher Vance (1991) and Chokin (1993) while Dunn prepared Mainland Banner to win the 2005 version. Ricky May, a winner of the Cup on seven previous occasions (Inky Lord, Iraklis, Mainland Banner, Monkey King x 2 and Terror To Love x2) will aim for another triumph when he partners Seel The Deal. Buster Brady (Kyle Austin & Blair Orange), Imola (Gavin Smith) and Maxim (Brent Mangos) are all looking to provide their connections their maiden Cup success. As always, the New Zealand Cup will be a special event and Lazarus could join a very special group if successful and can he do it again with a widening margin and in race record time? Time will tell. *  Hoofnote – Lazarus sported the Black with white Lone Star logo jacket last year and will don the same silks again on Tuesday. Chris Barsby

Top harness racing trotter Stent has been retired. After he had his first workout back to the races this season, owner Trevor Casey said, "I hope we can get him back to the races, but I am philosophical about it"  "I will do the right thing by the horse and retire him, if there are any more front suspensory problems". Now the horse has suffered a suspensory injury in what was his good leg, prompting Casey and trainer Colin De Filippi to pull the pin on the geldings career. A multiple Group One winner, Stent only returned to the races from a 22-month injury-enforced break a fortnight ago, when he ran a 1-56 mile when fifth at Ashburton. He ended his career as a nine year old with 30 wins and 25 placings from 70 starts for earnings of $1,156,750. His more notable victories include the Great Southern Star, New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All, ANZAC Cup, New Zealand Trotting Championship and the Rowe Cup. Stent was also crowned 2015 New Zealand and Australian Trotter of the Year. ____________________________________________________________________________________ Lazarus has had his final warmup for the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup, running home nicely in last nights Cup trial behind winner Jacks Legend.   Mark Purdon said, "He felt good today and was only here for a quiet run". "I was happy with him and it will just be a matter of ticking him over now until next Tuesday". Lazarus has opened up a $1.30 fixed odds win favourite with the TAB bookmakers for the New Zealand Trotting Cup. Stablemate Heaven Rocks is the second favourite at $6.00 for the FF win.   Harnesslink Media

Jack's Legend has won the Christchurch Casino Cup trial at Addington tonight, beating a nice field which included this years Cup favourite Lazarus. Driver Zac Butcher had Jack's Legend trailing the leader and stablemate Hug The Wind in the trial tonight and he slipped up the passing lane to win comfortably in 3-18.2 for the 2600m stand. The last 800m was quicker, with the winner zipping home in 55.2 seconds for that section of the trial. Trainer Barry Purdon said, "Jack's Legend has come through every race well this season and his run in the trial today was really good". "He was unlucky in the Derby here when they went 3-06 so he deserves his chance in the cup". Last years Cup winner Lazarus, ran home well from back in the field tonight and driver Mark Purdon said, "He felt good today and was only here for a quiet run". "I was happy with him and it will just be a matter of ticking him over now until next Tuesday". Lazarus has opened up a $1.30 fixed odds win favourite with the TAB bookmakers for the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup. Stablemate Heaven Rocks is the second favourite at $6.00 for the FF win. Dominion Handicap favourite Great Things Happen ran home well for second in his trial today and he will also go around as a favourite next Tuesday in the NZ Trotting FFA. Trained by Gavin Smith, he has a tricky draw of one on the second row for the FFA following out Marcoola. Harnesslink Media  

One-time New Zealand Cup favourite Heaven Rocks won't get a better chance to put his campaign back on track than at Addington tonight. Because for the first time this season the mammoth pacer might be able to secure his beloved pacemaking role and finally pay back the punters he burned in October. The two-time Jewels winner actually touched NZ Cup favouritism last month on the back of some stunning private and public workouts, a fact which hardly seems believable considering his subsequent form and that of stablemate Lazarus since. While Lazarus has produced three increasingly-brilliant wins, Heaven Rocks has produced one shocker and then a solid third in the Ashburton Flying Stakes when he was driven with a sit. He doesn't have to put up with Lazarus tonight but stablemates Dream About Me and Have Faith In Me (whom he shares the 30m backmark with) and Ultimate Machete (10m) still stand in his way. Trainer Mark Purdon found it hard to split the quartet but admitted if partner Natalie Rasmussen let Heaven Rocks loose tonight he could work to the lead and if he secures that role and feels confident and comfortable we may see something more like his best. Still, after his spring setbacks punters will want $2.50 to make it worth their while tonight, especially with Dream About Me pushing Lazarus close last start and Ultimate Machete already capable of open class times. On a night where the All Stars will also dominate with three-year-olds in the Sires' Stakes heat for boys and girls, as well as having the unbeaten Chase Auckland in another race, one of the real highlights could be the big trot. It features two potential open class stars in Ronald J and Dark Horse, both getting ready for Cup week and newcomers who have looked special in the grades. Considering Ronald J was a huge comeback third to Bordeaux at Kaikoura on Monday it almost seems unfair Dark Horse has to give him a 10m start but their manners will probably play a larger role in the final outcome than their handicaps. If Ronald J can work to the lead even Dark Horse's rare speed - and she might be the fastest trotter racing in the country over 400m - might not be enough for her to run him down. Alexandra Park also race tonight while NZ Cup contender Tiger Tara will confirm his Addington trip if he performs well at Menangle tomorrow night. Best bet: Funatthebeach (Addington, R1): Beaten by a good horse on debut and drawn to win tonight. Top trotter: Ronald J (Addington, R9): For all Dark Horse's speed, she might struggle to run Ronny down. Michael Guerin

The Mark Purdon/Natalie Rasmussen stable have a team of twenty horses entered at the NZ Metro harness racing meeting to be run at Addington on Friday night. Top pacers Ultimate Machete, Heaven Rocks, Dream About Me and Have Faith In Me go around in a 2600m standing start rating 76 & faster pace. Heaven Rocks, Dream About Me and Have Faith In Me will all be starting off a 30m handicap, while last start winner Ultimate Machete gets a 20m headstart on the big guns starting off 10m. The All Stars stable have seven runners engaged for the final Sires Stakes Heat, which is sure to be a competitve race, with many horses still chasing a spot in the $170,000 final to be run on New Zealand Cup day in three weeks time. Spankem looks to be the best chance for the All Stars stable after his big effort for third at his last start, but with a tricky second row draw and some classy 3yo's drawn off the front it will not be easy for him. Two races after the Sires Stakes heat, Auckland Reactor gelding Chase Auckland, will look to remain unbeaten when he takes on stable mates The Devils Own and Ashley Locaz in a rating 55 to 75 pace. The speedy pacer is following a path similar to his father Auckland Reactor who was unbeaten when he won the Sires Stakes final at his fifth start. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Gentleman Sir is in the process of being sold to the Tim Butt stable. The Love You gelding finished second in the harness jewels last season behind Wilma's Mate in a time of 1-55.7 for the mobile 1609m.  Gentleman Sir will do a good job when he gets to Australia, with the mobile starts suiting his style of racing.    Gentleman Sir running second in the harness jewels. Harnesslink Media

Harness racing trainer Mark Purdon declared his hand this morning in an interview with Sky Racing’s Adam Hamilton and Michael Guerin confirming the All-Star Team are gearing up for an assault on Gloucester Park with Perth being their focus over the next month.   Stable superstar Lazarus who is being dubbed the harness equivalent to Winx is currently $3.45 favourite on TABtouch to take out the Inter Dominion Series in Perth and after a dominating win in the Kaikoura Cup yesterday and a run in the New Zealand Cup to come, Mark confirmed this morning that “Unless something goes wrong he will be there.” Champion mare Dream About Me will board the plane alongside Lazarus with the intention of racing in the Inter Dominion series rather than the Westral Mares Classic with Mark commenting “She is a great mare and you wouldn’t rule her out.” Have Faith in Me, the Australasian Mile record holder is a confident yes at this stage and Mark believes the mobiles will suit him better than the stands. “He has had three runs for a win and a second.” Australian Mare of the Year, Piccadilly Princess is expected to take on the likes of Maczaffair, Tricky Styx and Dodolicious in the Westral Mares Classic on Grand Final night. After only two runs back from a spell Mark commented “She knows the track, she handled it well and will be very very competitive this year.” New Zealand 3YO of the Year, Ultimate Machete is back racing this Friday night against some of the stable’s other big names, but at this point he is 50/50 and a decision will be made at a later stage about whether he will make his way across the Tasman to contest the Retravision Golden Nugget on Friday December 8. Mark’s final words to Adam and Mick were “It’s a lot of money they put up for the final and things can go wrong with your best horse, but we still have some great power behind Lazarus and any of them can come out on top.”   With four of the powerhouse team all but certain to board the plane a week before the series starts on Friday November 24 and a decision to be made on Ultimate Machete there is no doubt the All-Stars are set to shine at Gloucester Park throughout the TABtouch Inter Dominion series. To listen to the full interview Click Here. Tanya Cull

Considering Lazarus won last year's New Zealand Cup by 10 lengths in race record time, to suggest that he might be better now borders on insanity. But judging by what he did in the Kaikoura Cup yesterday there may be some method in that madness. The champion pacer was crushing in the $50,000 event, sitting parked outside second favourite Titan Banner before racing clear at the top of the straight to smash Terror To Love's national 2400m standing-start record. Terror To Love, a three-time New Zealand Cup winner, set that record at rocket-fast Ashburton, while Kaikoura, with its flat bends, is not as quick a track. So for Lazarus to trim 0.6 of a second off the record sitting parked around four bends was breathtaking. So much so he is now set to start the hottest favourite in New Zealand Trotting Cup history at Addington in two weeks. The TAB reopened him $1.55 to win the Cup after yesterday's demolition but soon took a $20,000 bet so he is now rated a $1.50 chance, uncharted territory for any of the great horses who have contested our most famous race. Lazarus didn't have to beat his classy stablemates Heaven Rocks, Dream About Me or Have Faith In Me yesterday, with all three likely to have their final Cup lead-ups at Addington on Friday night instead. But Titan Banner has been one of the form horses of the spring and Lazarus beat him by two lengths yesterday and did so after covering six lengths more and at a stage when he is still be honed to his best. Which might be why trainer-driver Mark Purdon gave a rare whip salute at the finish; even he realised what Lazarus did yesterday was truly unusual. The reigning Horse of the Year is likely to have his last public hit-out before the Cup in the Cup trial at Addington on November 8. Those willing to take the short odds for the Cup can at least relax about his draw, with virtually no chance he can draw the second line because the Cup probably won't have one. Earlier in the day, Bordeaux showed he was on target for the Dominion at Addington on November 17 when he led for the last mile of the South Bay Trotters Cup to win easily. He was always the trotter to beat once he led, and held his gait in tight quarters going into the first bend. That suggests he is more mature than last season and will be awfully hard to catch in Addington's premier trot. Michael Guerin  

Champion harness racing pacer Lazarus has set a new race record when winning today's (Gr2) $50,000 Kaikoura Cup. Lazarus won easily after sitting parked and paced the 2400 metres from the standing start in 2.54.3, which bettered the previous record by more than a second. The time equated to a blistering mile-rate of 1.56.8 for the standing start race. Lazarus blasted home his last 800m in 54.1 seconds, with a final 400m in 26.8secs around the packed South Bay race track. Trainer Mark Purdon said after the race, "He was just too good today and was always travelling well" "He will probably go to the Cup trial next week, and then on to the Cup in two weeks time" Titan Banner had every chance in front for driver Dexter Dunn and stuck on well for second. North Island pacer No Doctor Needed ran home well for third. Earlier in the day the Philip Iggo trained Bordeaux went back to back in the (Gr3) $30,000 South Bay Trotters Cup. In a repeat of last year, the striking Love You gelding led for the last lap and easily held off a game The Foot Tapper to win the Trotters Cup for the second time in two years. Bordeaux trotted the 2400m stand in 3-01.8 for driver Dexter Dunn, with the last 800m cut out in 57.4 seconds. Bordeaux and winning connections.                                                        HRNZ photo The South Bay race track was in great order with some sizzling times recorded throughout the day. Cran Dalgety trained two winners that rated faster than a 1.55 mile rate.   Times Stride led all the way for Dexter Dunn rating 1.54.9 for the mobile 1900m and two races later Pat's Delight went slightly faster after sitting parked and rating 1-54.5 for the 1900m mobile. Both horses zipped home in around 55 seconds for their last 800m.   Bordeaux winning the (Gr3) $30,000 South Bay Trotters Cup.   Lazarus winning the Kaikoura Cup   Harnesslink Media

The mindset of just one rival driver could determine whether Lazarus enjoys an effortless New Zealand Cup warm up at Kaikoura today. The country's best pacer is the $1.18 bookies favourite for the $50,000 Kaikoura Cup, his final race before his New Zealand Cup defence in 15 days. After two wins in as many starts this campaign and without stablemates Dream About Me, Have Faith In Me and Heaven Rocks among his six rivals today, anything but a victory for Lazarus would surprise and cause a shift in the New Zealand Cup market. But for all its beauty, the Kaikoura track can be a nightmare for punters as its flat bends enormously favour leaders and plenty of good horses have had their journey to the New Zealand Cup run aground at Kaikoura. Today that snag could be Titan Banner, a former stablemate of Lazarus racing in wonderful form now back with former trainer Graeme Anderson. Titan Banner led in the middle stages and parked Dream About Me to win the Methven Cup two weeks ago and has the standing start manners to attempt the same today. He is very quick from a standing start and could be the first of the favoured pair to the markers. Then the question of the race will be asked. Will his driver Dexter Dunn want to stay in front and run hard over the 2400m or will he be happy to concede that role to Lazarus should trainer-driver Mark Purdon come knocking, knowing there are richer targets in the weeks ahead? If the answer is the latter Lazarus's army of punters should be in for an easy ride as the champ has never been run past in a race, so if he leads he wins. But if Titan Banner parks him out then those taking the short odds could be in for an uncomfortable last lap. As much as Lazarus is probably two, maybe more, lengths better than Titan Banner, around Kaikoura the $1.18 is too short because of that question alone. Northerners Better B Amazed and No Doctor Needed have drawn wide and probably need fast beginnings to be factors in the race whereas the remaining two Purdon-Rasmussen pacers Waikiki Beach and Piccadilly Princess are still very much on the way up. The Cup isn't the only feature today in which Dunn might play catch me if you can as he pilots free-goer Bordeaux in the $30,000 South Bay Trotters Cup. The bold chestnut is sticking to standing start races heading into the Dominion on November 17 and won this race last year with step and run tactics. With the open class trotting ranks a mess without Monbet and Speeding Spur, Bordeaux has the chance over the summer to bank some serious coin if he can stay sound and keep his manners intact and victory today would earn him valuable respect for Cup week. Michael Guerin

Harness racing champion Lazarus will have history against him, when he attempts to become a winner of both the Kaikoura Cup and New Zealand Cup in 2017. Only a handful of horses have achieved the rare feat of winning both races in the same year. Arden Rooney was the last to do the double, winning the Kaikoura Cup in 2015 before going on to win the New Zealand Cup a few weeks later.  Mark Purdon has actually accomplished the double twice before, with Il Vicolo in both 1995 and 1996, so you could say he has history on his side, but the only other pacers before then to win both races in the same year, were Trusty Scot in 1978 and Humprey in 1968. Mark Purdon also has Waikiki Beach and Piccadilly Princess entered in the Kaikoura Cup this year. He said on the All Stars website, "I am not expecting Laz to have any problems with the Kaikoura track. While its true he has had the odd problem cornering in the past it has not been  a serious one and I think he will be fine. The other two will further improve but of them Piccadilly Princess is close now and ahead of Waikiki Beach who still has some tightening up to do". Lazarus is currently at $1.15 on the TAB FF win market to win the Kaikoura Cup with Titan Banner second favourite paying $6.00 _________________________________________________________________________________ Raging Bull sired his first winner on Friday night when Bare Knuckle won at Alexandra Park for trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. Bare Knuckle qualified for the Sires Stakes final with her win and the speedy filly rated a quick 1-55.1 when beating outsider Gottabearose by more than two lengths for the 1700m mobile. _________________________________________________________________________________ Girl power was to the fore at Forbury on Thursday night when Charlotte Purvis had her second race-day winning drive. Charlotte drove a patient with the Michael Heenan trained Stellar Success in the junior drivers Trot, getting home from back in the field to win easily.  The first 4 horses home were all driven by female junior drivers. Charlotte Purvis drove the winner, Sarah O'Reilly was 2nd, Mikayla Lewis was 3rd, and Laura McKay finished 4th.   Harnesslink Media    

Harness racing trainer Mark Purdon has withdrawn Cash N Flow from the New Zealand Cup. Mark said on the All Stars website, "It is a shame Cash N Flow can't make the Cup now. I will withdraw him on Tuesday. He's had an issue up there and we are going to get him scanned in Matamata to see if we can find the problem. It may be related to an earlier injury or it might not. Hopefully we can get a better understanding of it. But the Cup is out". The New Zealand Cup is down to a field of fourteen at present which includes Australian star Tiger Tara. Trainer Kevin Pizzuto is still keen to come to the Cup with Tiger Tara and will be here for the race in November depending on suitable travel. ____________________________________________________________________________ Ultimate Machete had no issues with his first race-day standing start when beating a good field of pacers yesterday at Ashburton. The Bettor's Delight 4yo began well for driver Natalie Rasmussen and was taken around the field to sit parked with a lap to go. In the straight Ultimate Machete was too strong for the opposition winning untouched in a quick 2-56.9 for the 2400m stand. The last 800m was run in a sizzling 53.9 showing that he would have been competitive in the Ashburton Flying Stakes won by stable mate Lazarus later in the day. Ultimate Machete will now head to Cup week for races like the Junior Free For All after a Perth trip was ruled out by the stable yesterday.    Ultimate Machete winning at Ashburton yesterday Harnesslink Media

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