Globetrotting jockey Craig Williams will be given first refusal to ride New Zealand’s newly crowned 2013 champion two year old, Ruud Awakening, when she makes her Melbourne Spring Carnival debut next month.
The Stephen Marsh trained filly will be heading to Melbourne on September 1 and will race the following Saturday in one of two races down the Flemington straight, the $80,000 three year old Fillies Plate over 1100m or the Group 3 $150,000 Bobby Lewis Quality over 1200m.
Ruud Awakening showed in a sparkling gallop at Taupo yesterday that she had lost none of her zip that she produced in the Autumn in winning the Group 1 NZ$200,000 Haunui Farm Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie on March 9.
Top New Zealand jockey Opie Bosson was aboard the Bernardini filly in the Diamond Stakes and partnered her again in the 800m gallop and was thrilled with the way she worked to the line.
“She was humming up the straight,” Bosson told The Informant.
“For a start she was gawking around but when I gave her a slap she just when whoosh.
“She felt great and has really come on since I last sat on her.”
Williams won on the filly at Ellerslie in the Listed NZ$550,000 Karaka Million (1200m) on January 27 and then took the ride in the Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on April 6 but could only manage to beat one runner home after jumping from the outside gate.
Marsh’s racing manager Albert Bosma said that Williams would have first option for the ride when Ruud Awakening returns to Australia with her main aim being the Group 1 $500,000 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on November 2.
“That’s the way we’re leaning but nothing’s set in concrete,” Bosma said.
“It all depends on how she shapes up early in the piece as to which way we go with her.
“She’s also entered for the Thousand Guineas at 1600 metres, so we have that option if it looks the better option.”
The Group 1 $500,000 Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 16 is two and a half weeks prior to the Coolmore Stud Stakes and Marsh would have to make an early call if he were to go down that path.
The Peter Snowden trained Guelph is currently the early $5 favourite for the Thousand Guineas on the strength of her two Randwick Group 1 wins during the Sydney Autumn Carnival.
After running fourth to Overreach in the Golden Slipper, Guelph appreciated the step up to 1400m and turned the tables on Gai Waterhouse trained filly by winning the $500,000 Inglis Sires Produce Stakes on April 13 and followed that up two weeks later with a win in the $400,000 Moet & Chandon 150th Champagne Stakes (1600m).
Blue Diamond winner Miracles Of Life is next in the Thousand Guineas market at $7.50 while Ruud Awakening is rated a $21 chance.