Marsh and McDonald dumbfounded by failure

Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh is at a loss to explain the very disappointing performance of Ruud Awakening in last night’s Champagne Stakes at Moonee Valley.

Ruud Awakening began well for rider James McDonald and, after settling just behind the leaders, she was under pressure turning for home in the 1200-metre event and weakened out to beat just one of 10 runners home, six and a half lengths from the winner, Thump.

“It was just too bad to be true,” said Marsh. “I had her checked over and scoped after the race and everything was normal. If she’d have battled on to run fifth or sixth I would have said she wasn’t up to it. But she never travelled yet pulled up great.

“James was dumbfounded. He said she felt brilliant in her preliminary, even better than she did before she ran fifth first-up.”

Ruud Awakening was racing under lights for the first time, but Marsh isn’t prepared to use that as a sole excuse.

“There were others doing the same and she seemed to handle it when she went around to the start,” he said. “She was just very disappointing.”

Marsh’s first impression is to give Ruud Awakening a chance to atone last night’s performance.

“There’s one more race in two weeks and if she does well she might as well run in it. But it will all depend on what happens with her in the next few days. Something may surface which explains why she went so badly.”