Trial guide to Ruud Awakening’s first-up task

Ruud Awakening (Danielle Johnson) clear of Shelford in yesterday's trial.

Ruud Awakening (Danielle Johnson) clear of Shelford in yesterday’s trial.

Stephen Marsh got a guide on one of Ruud Awakening’s opponents when the smart mare lived up to expectations with a win at yesterday’s Cambridge trials.

Having her first start since finishing third in the Gr. 3 Cambridge JC Breeders Stakes at Te Rapa last April, Ruud Awakening enjoyed a trail in her open 950-metre heat and when given more rein by rider Danielle Johnson she surged past the leader and went on to win by a length.

Chasing Ruud Awakening home was the Tony Pike-trained Shelford, the former Sydney galloper who was a smart two-year-old with placings in the Gr. 2 Todman Slipper Trial (third to Pierro) and the Listed Canonbury Stakes (second) before finishing seventh in the Gr. 1 Golden Slipper.

“She’ll be coming up against the second horse (Shelford) again when she starts first-up at Ellerslie on Melbourne Cup day,” said Marsh of Ruud Awakening. “I’m happy with the mare. She has a good puff and it was really good to see her take a trail today.

“It’s good to see her winning something again. It’s been a while.”

Ruud Awakening’s last win was the Gr. 1 Haunui Farm Diamond Stakes at Ellerslie in March last year, an effort which helped her seal the NZ Champion Two-Year-Old Award. She has had six starts since that win and weighed in four times, including a fourth in the Gr. 3 Red Anchor Stakes at Moonee Valley 12 months ago.

Marsh was also thrilled with the performance yesterday of Barbaric, who won his open 950-metre heat by a neck from Rebound. He is on target to resume in the Listed open sprint at Te Rapa next month.

Fellow Cambridge trainer Shaune Ritchie also picked up two of the open heats with apprentice Jordan Robinson being the rider on both horses. Zaperb beat Open ‘N’ Shut while Goldminer scored by two lengths over Ruready.