Ruud Awakening trainer Stephen Marsh is hoping the rain will continue into Saturday where his star filly will attempt to become the first New Zealand-trained horse to win the Golden Slipper (1200m).
While the form guide says Ruud Awakening hasn’t won on worse than Dead, there is believed to be a big difference between the track ratings in Australia and New Zealand.
“She won on a dead track back home, which is the equivalent of a heavy track here,” Marsh told Sky Sports Radio.
“Our heavies, they’re real heavy.”
Outside of those who ran in the Silver Slipper, won by Sweet Idea, the Australian Golden Slipper contenders have mostly raced on dry tracks.
A daughter of Bernardini, Ruud Awakening brings terrific form into her Australian debut. The two-year-old has won five of six starts including the Group 1 Diamond Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths last month.
She is currently a $13 chance in the Golden Slipper market but will have to overcome a tricky barrier 18 position.
“If it was a New Zealand Group 1, I’d say bounce her out and lead, but this is a totally different race,” Marsh said.
In a vote of confidence for the New Zealand filly, top Australian jockey Craig Williams elected to ride her over fellow Slipper contender and Todman Stakes winner Criterion ($13).
Williams has ridden the emerging galloper once before, partnering her to a three-length win in the Listed Karaka Million in January.
“I thought pretty much straight away that she was good enough for the Slipper,” Williams said earlier this week.
Craig Williams won the Slipper aboard Miss Finland in 2006.
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