Test of Marsh’s emotions

Stephen Marsh left the Rosehill track this morning wearing a big smile, but a few hours the look on his face was replaced with one of dismay.

The Cambridge trainer is in Sydney with his freak filly Ruud Awakening, who will strive to become the first New Zealand trained and owned winner of the Group I Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday.

Ruud Awakening thrilled Marsh when raceday rider Craig Williams put her through her final fast work this morning and he headed to the all-important barrier draw function in a happy mood.

That mood was tested big time when Ruud Awakening drew the extreme outside draw (16), while the Gai Waterhouse-trained Overreach firmed in favouritism after landing barrier one.

“I’m gutted,” said Marsh, “but there’s nothing we can do about it. When her number came up and I had to pick the cup (with the draw hidden underneath) I was never going to pick the one on the middle left. I was going for the one on the bottom right of the table, but for some reason I changed my mind.”

Only one horse has won from the outside barrier draw in the Golden Slipper since 1983 and that was Phelan Ready on a heavy track in 2009.

“Apart from the draw, everything has gone well with the filly,” said Marsh. “I just can’t fault her and Craig was very happy with her this morning.”

Marsh says he will leave it up to Williams to ride Ruud Awakening where he feels she’s suited best.

“He’s ridden her once already, in the Karaka Million, and we’ve just got to have an open mind,” said Marsh. “It will all depend on how well she jumps. He’s an international rider. He’ll know what to do.”

Cambridge does have a second close interest in the Golden Slipper Stakes with Bjorn Baker, who is now making his mark as a trainer at Warwick Farm, Baker will saddle up Windjammer, who has drawn barrier 12.