Williams awakened big time

International jockey Craig Williams uttered two words to sum up the potential of Ruud Awakening after the Cambridge filly annihilated her opposition in tonight’s Karaka Million at Ellerslie.

After Ruud Awakening left daylight between herself and her closest rival, Fantastic Honour, Williams was asked whether she was good enough to measure up in Australia. His reply was ”no doubt.”

It was hard to believe Williams would say anything different after his first ride on the Stephen Marsh-trained filly. And he did add a warning to any likely opposition Ruud Awakening will face over the next few months.

“I looked through all her videotapes and she showed that ability again today,” he said. “There’s more upside than we saw today, too.”

Williams won last year‘s Karaka Million on the Aussie raider Ockham’s Razor with a strong finish, but tonight’s win was recorded in contrasting style.

Ruud Awakening bounced out well from barrier seven and was soon across on the rail and leading.

Williams had a handful of horse turning for home and when he released the brakes Ruud Awakening soon put the issue beyond doubt, slipping into another gear and cruising clear to win untested.

Ruud Awakening has looked the likely Karaka Million winner from the first time she raced and despite other pretenders to the crown nothing would have beaten her tonight.

Indeed, Ruud Awakening lived right up to expectations, but Marsh says he did get one surprise.

“She bounced out and we were always going to go forward, but I didn’t expect her to lead,” said Marsh. “She’s got a high cruising speed and she did it so easily.

“We bought her as a Karaka Million horse and to have won the race is clearly my best thrill.”

Ruud Awakening is raced by the Go Racing Almighty Dawn Syndicate, managed by Albert Bosma, who described the win as “an amazing feeling of pride.”

“I’m proud for the horse, for all the owners and for Stephen as well as myself,” he said. “When you see her do that, it sent tingles down my spine.”

The syndicate is made up of 10 people, including “Pinetree” Colin Meads, the legendary All Black who was on hand for the big occasion.

“It’s as big a thrill as I’ll ever get,” he said. “It’s like winning a rugby test.”

Marsh plans to give Ruud Awakening a well-earned rest then return to Ellerslie for the Group I Diamond Stakes. “If she dominates in that like she did today she could be off to Australia,” said Marsh.