Marsh set to try on Slipper

Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh is in the Group One mode.

Just a week after registered his first Group One success on his own account, Marsh will be attempting to record another major triumph at Trentham tomorrow and he has an even bigger Group One target in the pipeline.

Marsh saddled up his amazing filly Ruud Awakening to follow up her runaway Karaka Million win with another impressive winning performance in the Group I Haunui Farm Diamond Stakes at Ellerslie last Saturday.

Ruud Awakening has come through his latest success in such fine style she is now on track to contest the Group I Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill on April 6.

“I’m keen to have a crack at the Slipper and the owners are 100 percent agreeable,” said Marsh. “It looks like we’re on our way. “I’ve just got to plan everything and get it organised.

“It’s a big ask taking on the Golden Slipper, but I know it could be a once in a lifetime opportunity. She should have won six from six and you can only but win.”

Marsh says when he put Ruud Awakening back in her box last Saturday night “you wouldn’t have known she had raced.”
Craig Williams, who was flown across from Australia to ride Ruud Awakening in the Karaka Million, has the front-running for the Golden Slipper mount, while Opie Bosson, her rider last Saturday, is in the mix.

“Craig’s manager has kept in close contact and says Craig is keen to ride her,” said Marsh. “But nothing will be confirmed until closer to the race. I’d be happy to have either Craig or Opie on her.”

Meanwhile Marsh is calling on the services of another top hoop, Noel Harris, in his bid to win the Group I Wellfield NZ Oaks at Trentham tomorrow.

Harris has ridden many winners over the years for Marsh’s father, Bruce, including the top stayer Shamrock, and he is looking forward to riding Aurora Lights.

“She should be a good ride,” said Harris. “I’ve watched her races and she looks like she should get the trip.”

Aurora Lights will be racing in sidewinkers for the first time on Saturday as a result of her last-start performance at Ellerslie.

“She baulked a bit coming through a gap at Ellerslie and the sidewinkers should help,” said Marsh. “She’s going to be a better horse with another six months on her, but she’s racing well enough we’ve got to have a crack on Saturday.”