Invercargill Review

Tim Williams made the most of a brief return on Sunday to his old stomping ground of Ascot Park by picking up two of the features at the southern harness Diamonds Day meeting.
First up was Lazarus in the $21,000 Diamond Creek Farm Two Year Old Classic. Trained by Williams' employers, Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, Lazarus is raced by Trevor Casey, Glenys and Phil Kennard and Kevin Riseley. Second foal of the unraced Christian Cullen mare Bethany, he is a half brother to three year old filly Champagne Dreams, a winner at the Marlborough meeting in January.

Lazarus has tasted defeat only once, finishing second to stablemate Chase the Dream in the Young Guns Cardigan Bay Stakes at Alexandra Park last month. Nine days after that the Bettor's Delight colt took out the first heat of the Sires Stakes Series and Williams said it had been difficult to find suitable races for him since then. He said the Sires Stakes final on 15 May would be the next major mission for Lazarus who now sits second behind Chase The Dream in rankings for the two year old Emerald.

Williams' second win was aboard the Geoff and Jude Knight-trained Al Raza in the $25,000 Bmac Sheetmetal 2005 Ltd Southern Country Cups Final. The sulky became vacant last week after usual driver Matthew Williamson was suspended for his drive on The Shakey Mistress at the Central Otago meeting in January.
A daughter of Gotta Go Cullect, Al Raza was developed by her Roxburgh co-breeder Bill Keeler who used to train her with the Knight team. Even before her first start, she impressed the Knights in training. Soon the Central Courage Syndicate was looking for a horse and after two starts the syndicate secured her from the Keelers for $25,000. The syndicate of mostly Central Otago residents has been rewarded with stake earnings in excess of $60,000.