Cambridge feature to be Ruud Awakening’s target

New Zealand racegoers will have to wait until late April to witness the reappearance of last season’s champion two-year-old Ruud Awakening.

Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh has pencilled-in the Gr. 3 Windsor Park Stud Breeders Stakes (1200m) at Te Rapa on April 26 as the kick-off for Ruud Awakening in a late autumn campaign.

Last season Marsh was runner-up in the race with Lucky Country and he’s keen to go one better at the meeting held by his local centre, the Cambridge Jockey Club.

“She’s resting now and will be aimed at kicking off in the Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes at Te Rapa in April and we’ll work out then whether or not to give her a little stint in Brisbane,” said Marsh.

Ruud Awakening’s long absence from the raceday is due to a spell following her Melbourne campaign, plus an operation.

She returned to New Zealand after finishing fourth at Flemington on Melbourne Cup day and underwent an operation to remove a small chip from her fetlock joint.

“After her last race there was a fraction of heat in a joint and we had the leg x-rayed,” said Marsh. “It wasn’t a major injury but it was best to clear it up. She’s come through it fine.”

After being beaten just once in New Zealand and including in her five wins the Karaka Million and the Gr. 1 Haunui Farm Diamond Stakes, Ruud Awakening was expected to make a big impression as an early season three-year-old.

Though she hasn’t won in four three-year-old appearances, each of the runs were at the Melbourne Spring Carnival and she had a few minor setbacks along the way. She did record two fourths in her last two outings, including the Gr. 3 Red Anchor Stakes at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate day.