Could have been a rude awakening

Punters shouldn’t be fooled by the long neck winning margin of Ruud Awakening at Ellerslie yesterday when it comes to the Karaka Million later this month.

The Cambridge filly is certainly the horse to beat in the $1 million juvenile event and anyone who witnessed her performance from the outside barrier draw (seven) and with the topweight (59kg) should want to be putting their money on her in the big one.

Sure the margin was cut down late by the visitor Touche, but that was solely through the fault of rider Jason Waddell, who eased right up on the Bernardino filly in the run home.

Ruud Awakening sped across from the draw to lead and when asked to quicken on straightening she slipped ahead by a few lengths. Waddell looked around three times in the run home as he sat quietly on Ruud Awakening and at the finish the leading margin had dwindled to a long neck.

Trainer Stephen Marsh agrees Waddell took his pre-race instructions a bit too far.

“With 59kg, I told Jason not to let her extend too much, but he did button off too early,” said Marsh. “She’s such a laid back filly that when he eased up, she buttoned off. He should have kept her going a bit longer.”

Though Ruud Awakening had such a leeway to counter for the ground made by Touche, Waddell was issued a judicial warning over his performance in the final stages. He was also warned over allowing Ruud Awakening to shift inwards 100 metres after the start.
Despite the final stages concern, Marsh is thrilled with the outcome of yesterday’s race.

“When Jason did push her early in the run home she kicked three lengths clear easily and if I had ridden her out a bit more she could have won by five lengths,” said Marsh. “She did it so easily.

“She’s spot on for the Karaka Million. She’s bright, her legs are good and she ate up well after the race. And she’s drops 4.5 kilos to 54.5 in the Karaka Million.”

Meanwhile stablemate Barbaric suffered a shock defeat in the Rating 75 event, pulling up at the tail of the field. A winner of two of his previous starts and runner-up the other time, Barbaric hung during the race and was eased right down in the home straight.

“He pulled a plate and by the way he was hanging it probably happened early in the race,” said Marsh. “He pulled up sore. I’ve had a lot of trouble with his feet and he was just never travelling in the race. We’ve just got to forget about the run.”