There is more to New Zealand sports than the All-Blacks and one of those more things was the 2016 New Zealand Trotting Cup.
Lazarus won by a huge margin of 10 lengths to post one of the greatest wins in the 113-year history of the Group 1 race.
Lazarus had a world record time in the process, even though trainer Mark Purdon departed from his usual protocol, a protocol devised over a successful 21-year career, by being the first four-year-old to line up in the race since 1995, when the race was won by Il Vicolo.
The trotters seem to have gotten faster each successive season, as Lazarus beat the record that had only been established in 2014, when champion mare Adore Me covered the course in 3:54.6. Lazarus’ time of 3:53.1 lowered the mark by over a full second.
This was the fourth New Zealand Trotting Cup win for Purdon, with Il Vicolo winning twice consecutively in the 90s, Adore Me in 2014 and now Lazarus.
Purdon’s bold plan to sacrifice some of the probable wins Lazarus could have gathered at the end of his three-year-old season to focus on the biggest race on the open class calendar has returned dividends in spades.