Aussies prepare for Ruud Awakening!

Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh would love to prove a point to top Australian jockey Craig Williams with his stable star Ruud Awakening at Flemington tomorrow.

Williams rode Ruud Awakening for a runaway win in the Karaka Million last January and again when the filly lost all chance from an outside draw in the Gr. 1 Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill last autumn. But he turned down the opportunity to ride her fresh-up in the $A80,000 Domain 1100 tomorrow.

Williams had shown his interest in taking the Ruud Awakening mount until offered the opportunity to climb on the Darley owned Metastasio, a winner of two of her five starts and runner-up on two occasions.

Williams swung Metastasio’s way mainly due to the fact she had won over the course and distance (in her debut last January) whereas Ruud Awakening obviously hasn’t raced at Flemington.

Another reason pulling Williams towards the Peter Snowden-trained runner was the fact she is more seasoned than Ruud Awakening, having recorded her two seconds in two runs last month.

But Marsh doesn’t see facing Flemington for the first time a concern for Ruud Awakening.

“Since the track has been redone the races over the straight six aren’t like they used to be,” he said. “They used to be shocking with some horses going to the outside fence, some to the inner and others stranded in the centre of the track.

“They were all searching for the best ground. But now it seems they all stick to the inside.
“She had a look around when Troy (Harris) worked her on Wednesday morning and I can’t see it being a problem.”

While Metastasio was running second in a Group Three event (Quizette Stakes) at Caulfield on August 17, Marsh was preparing to give Ruud Awakening an exhibition gallop between races two days later at Taupo. And that Taupo outing boosted Marsh’s confidence for the Melbourne campaign.

“She did just what I wanted at Taupo and Opie (Bosson) rode her that day and he was very happy with her,” said Marsh. “And since then she hasn’t put a foot wrong. There have been no hiccups. Everything has been going great and we’ve even got a good draw – three.

“It’s an ideal draw and I couldn’t be happier with her going into the race. She travelled over well and has settled in nicely here at Russell Cameron’s stable.”

James McDonald will ride Ruud Awakening tomorrow and he is sure to have done his homework around the opposition. “He’ll know what to do,” said Marsh. “She might even be a bit more forward than I thought she was.”

Provided Ruud Awakening performs well tomorrow, she will head to Moonee Valley on September 27 for a Friday night feature, the Gr. 3 $A150,000 Champagne Stakes (1200m).