New Zealand filly Ruud Awakening has surfaced as a real Kiwi threat in this year’s Golden Slipper after taking out the NZ$1m New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Million (1200m) at Ellerslie in Auckland on Sunday.
Trainer Stephen Marsh is willing to pay the $150,000 late entry fee to secure a run in the Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on April 6 after Ruud Awakening collected a first prize cheque of NZ$550,500 for winning at Ellerslie.
“That’s the way we’ve been thinking,” Marsh said.
Marsh will have plenty of confidence heading across the Tasman with globetrotting jockey Craig Williams giving his seal of approval for a Slipper attempt after steering the Bernardini filly to a three length win in the million dollar race.
“She is certainly up to Australian juvenile class,” Williams said.
“When I saw her replays in Australia I was impressed, but she was more impressive tonight.
“You know, she has even more than what we saw tonight. She’s a very, very smart filly.
“She has a good head to think with and outstanding ability.”
Ruud Awakening’s Karaka Million’s win took her prizemoney to $600,550 with four wins and a second from five starts for the seventy plus owners who make up the winning syndicate that race the filly.
Marsh admitted that he was a bit concerned to see Ruud Awakening working to the lead in the 1200m race but gained mid race confidence when the filly was travelling so sweetly for Williams.
“They usually go very hard early in this race,” Marsh said.
“But when I saw how she was travelling under Craig I was pleased she was in front.”
Williams had no problems crossing from barrier seven to lead the field in the early stages and after setting the pace gave nothing else a chance when he released the brakes at the top of straight.
The filly went to line under hands and heels riding from Williams to score as he liked from Fantastic Honour, ridden by Kelly Myers and Touche with Jonathan Riddell in the saddle.
Williams is starting to get a good assessment of the two year old talent running around leading up to the Melbourne and Sydney Autumn Carnivals and even though he didn’t win either the colts and geldings or filly’s Listed $120,000 Patinack Farm Blue Diamond Preview (1000m) at Caulfield on Saturday, he was able to get a good look at the youngsters, particularly Adelaide flying machine Miracles Of Life.
And Williams had already said that Clarry Conners’ filly Assail was up to Golden Slipper class even though she was a race morning scratching from the $2m Jeep Magic Millions 2yo Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast on January 12 because of a hoof injury.
Williams declared that Assail was top quality class after a sizzling gallop in between races at Warwick Farm leading up to the Gold Coast race.
“She is a high quality filly,” Williams said after the special gallop.
“The way she worked you would be happy if you were going towards the Slipper. The way that she felt and her attitude, she is a very good filly.”
But Conners has his hands full trying to get the Charge Forward filly fit in time as she is recovering from surgery which was required to clean out her infected hoof.