Champion trainer Mark Purdon is confident Lazarus and Ultimate Machete are at the top of their game ahead of tomorrow night’s Retravision-Fremantle Cup (2536m) at Gloucester Park.
The pair tuned up for the Group 1 feature with stylish wins at Gloucester Park last Friday, with Lazarus winning by 12.3m, and Ultimate Machete displayed his talent with a tough win by 1.8m.
Purdon said he expected the runs last week would top off the preparations nicely for both pacers ahead of the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups.
“I would probably think they would be a little bit better than last week, in what was their first runs for a month,” he said.
“They have come through in great order, and being stallions they probably would benefit from the run.”
Lazarus, who won the TABtouch Inter Dominion last month, drew barrier five for the time-honoured event, while Ultimate Machete, to be driven by Natalie Rasmussen, also drew well in barrier two.
Purdon, who will again team up with Lazarus, said he would look to sit close to the speed, and not let Bettors Fire have his own way in front if his driver Kyle Harper decides to hold the lead on that pacer from the inside of the front row.
“He will probably be where he likes it, and that will be outside of the leader,” he said.
“You couldn’t afford to let him get his own way because he has got speed, if you gave it to him easy he would take a lot of beating from the front.”
Purdon said he still favoured Lazarus as the best of his two chances in the Fremantle Cup, but expected Ultimate Machete to be competitive in his first clash against his star stablemate.
“He’s a very good horse, but I think Lazarus has gone to another level,” he said.
“The only way he could beat Lazarus is if they made it tough on him, and Ultimate Machete had a nice run and finished over the top.”
Purdon has A Piccadilly Princess engaged in the Retravision Lowest Price Guarantee Pace (2536m) earlier in the night, and he said the mare was in good order, following her last start second to Devendra on December 29.
“I think she can run a good race, it’s just the draw that will be the concern,” he said.
“We are on the second line, and the question is whether she will get the gaps at the right time, but she is going very well.”
Purdon also confirmed Have Faith In Me was on track to start in the WA Pacing Cup on January 19.