By Adam Hamilton
IT is hard enough trying to beat Lazarus, let alone when he’s drawn the pole.
That’s exactly the challenge confronting his rivals in Saturday night’s $100,000 Group 1 Canadian Club Sprint (1609m) at Menangle on Saturday night.
Lazarus snared the pole, but it does mean trainer-driver Mark Purdon will have to blast him off the gate for the first time in Australia since he led and won the Victoria Cup at Melton almost 13 months ago.
Lazarus also won’t have to contend with the three horses considered his major Miracle Mile rivals with Soho Tribeca, Heaven Rocks and Lennytheshark all facing each other in the other Miracle Mile qualifier.
Tiger Tara, who Lazarus has crushed in the Perth Inter Dominion final and Hunter Cup at their past two meetings, looks the major rival again from gate three.
The other class runners have all drawn wide with San Carlo in eight, My Field Marshal nine and Franco Nelson in 10.
In the first qualifier, the Group 1 Allied Express Sprint (1609m), Soho Tribeca fared best of the big guns in gate six. He will come into four if emergencies Clancys Fobwatch and My General Lee don’t make the field.
Lennytheshark drew gate nine, while Heaven Rocks was placed out of the draw after his Hunter Cup run and has the outside alley (gate 10).
Interestingly, Steve Turnbull has opted to run his tough and exciting four-year-old Atomic Red in the race (gate seven) after he sat parked and ran a fighting third to Jilliby Kung Fu in last Saturday’s Chariots Of Fire.
Saturday night’s Menangle card also features the last of the Ladyship Mile qualifiers, the Robin Dundee as well as heats of the NSW Derby and NSW Oaks.
Ameretto, who ran a fantastic fifth in the Hunter Cup, drops back to mares’ grade and looks the one to beat despite gate 10 in the Robin Dundee.
Lazarus’ stablemate All U Need Is Faith snared the pole and looks a standout in the first NSW Derby heat.
His key rivals are Higherthanaeagle (six), Code Bailey (nine) and Maraetai (12).
Victoria Derby runner-up Poster Boy is the one to beat from gate seven in the second of the NSW Derby heats.
The All Stars’ The Devils Own has the pole in the third heat, but the one to beat is Victoria Derby winner Colt Thirty One (gate five).
Nominal NSW Oaks favourite Nostra Villa should make it 10 wins from 11 starts from gate five in the first of the heats.
The All Stars’ Our Bare Knuckle has the outside (gate 10) in the second Oaks heats where Victoria’s Soho Burning Love (seven) and Queensland raider Aqua Miss (one) look major players.
The last of the Oaks heats will see buzz Queensland filly Fame Assured the testing material despite gate eight.
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