Ruud Awakening at Flemington

Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh has confirmed his exciting filly Ruud Awakening will begin her three-year-old campaign at Flemington.

Ruud Awakening will be flown to Melbourne next month and will resume racing in the $A80,000 Super VOBIS Plate, a three-year-old fillies 1100 metres at Flemington on September 7.

“I want to give her a look at the straight six at Flemington beforehand, so she will have either a jumpout or trial over 800 or 1000 metres,” said Marsh. “Craig Williams’ agent has been on the phone chasing up the ride. Craig will ride her in the trial or jumpout then in her first start.

“Craig knows how good she is and if she comes up as well as I think she will, I’d say he’d want to stick with her.”

Most top juvenile fillies have chased the NZ Bloodstock Filly Of The Year series as three-year-olds, but Marsh has purposely concentrated instead on Australia.

“She’s already a Group One winner here and to add to her value she needs to win black type in Australia,” he said. “She’s up to it and that’s why we’re taking her straight over.”

Marsh believes the Flemington event is a perfect launching pad for Ruud Awakening’s three-year-old campaign. “It is set weights and penalties and she will get in on 58kg on a 54kg minimum and that’s good for what she’s won,” said Marsh.

The second race on Ruud Awakening’s agenda is the Gr.3 $A150,000 Champagne Stakes, a three-year-old fillies 1200 metres at Moonee Valley on September 27.

“It’s at set weights so she will drop 2kg and meet the other fillies on the same weight,” said Marsh. “The Moonee Valley track should suit her, too. It’s ideal for her.”

Beyond the first two starts in Melbourne, Marsh is considering the Gr.1 $A500,000 Coolmore Stakes, a three-year-old 1200 metres at Flemington on VRC Derby day.

“We’ll be guided by the first two races exactly where to head, but that is an option,” he said. “There are so many races for her over there. There are $A150,000 races every second week.”

Marsh says Williams will be impressed when he sees Ruud Awakening in Melbourne. “She’s stronger and looking outstanding,” he said. “She has really developed. She’s grown up and thickened and everything about her is better than last time in.”

Williams was most impressed with Ruud Awakening when he rode her for the first time in her effortless win in the New Zealand’s richest race, the Karaka Million, at Ellerslie last January. He also also had the mount when Ruud Awakening finished unplaced after drawing the outside barrier in the Gr.1 $A3.5 million Toohey’s Golden Slipper Stakes in Sydney on April 6.

“Everything went wrong right from the outset in the Golden Slipper,” said Marsh. “For a start she had to jump from 16 out of 16 and was a touch slow and that was it. She got knocked early and pushed around a fair bit and never got into the race. It was a total non-event for her.

“You’ve just got to put a line through that run. Craig knows she’s far better than that. Take that race away and she’s got a near faultless record. She should never have been beaten in New Zealand.”

Ruud Awakening’s sole defeat in New Zealand came when second, beaten a long neck by Bounding, in the Listed Murdoch Newell Stakes (1000m) at Pukekohe last November. She was fractious in her stall and missed the start, but flashed home.

Ruud Awakening then went on to win the Countdown to Karaka Million, the Karaka Million and the Gr.1 Haunui Farm Diamond Stakes at Ellerslie. In the latter event she easily turned the tables on Bounding, beating her by two and a quarter lengths.

Ruud Awakening will win the Cambridge award for the centre’s top two-year-old and Marsh would love to also see her nationally recognised. Ruud Awakening is up against Recite and Bounding for the NZ Champion Two-Year-Old Award, to be presented at the NZ Thoroughbred Racing Awards dinner in Hamilton on August 15.

“They’re all top fillies, but I feel she deserves to win it,” said Marsh. “She’s won a Group One and the million dollar race and she should be unbeaten here.”