Karaka Million aspirants get Ruud Awakening

Ruud Awakening sounded an ominous warning to her Karaka Million rivals on Saturday with an impressive final trial for New Zealand’s richest race.

The high-class filly returned to the top of the pecking order with a soft victory in the Countdown to Karaka Million Prelude at Ellerslie.  “Jason (Waddell) sat up a long way out and she’s such a relaxed filly that she buttoned off,” trainer Stephen Marsh said.  “She had plenty up her sleeve and taking 4.5kg off for the Million will be a big help.”

Under 59kg, Ruud Awakening crossed easily from an outside gate to dictate from the front and she was cruising on the turn.  Waddell had the luxury of a couple of glances over his left shoulder in the straight to give her a comfortable run to the line.  “She’s a super exciting filly and there’s a lot of improvement in her for the Million,” he said.  “She’s just pure class.”

Ruud Awakening (2f Bernardini – Dawn Almighty by Danehill) had only a long neck on Touche (Thorn Park) at the finish, although the margin did flatter the runner-up.  Gateway (Coats Choice) was half a length away third in front of Dancer’s Tale (Tale Of The Cat).

The winner was a $90,000 purchase for the Go Racing Syndicate from Westbury Stud’s draft at the 2012 NZB Karaka Premier Sale.  Her only loss in four starts occurred in the Listed Murdoch Newell Stakes at Pukekohe in November when she missed the kick and did well to finish second.

“We gave her twelve days off after Pukekohe and she’s a very clean-winded filly who never puts a foot wrong,” Marsh added.  “We just have to keep her 100% and she’s good to go for the Million. From Day 1 we’ve held her in the highest regard and she’s still pretty much untapped.”

Her sire Bernardini (A P Indy) shuttles to Darley Kelvinside and her dam Dawn Almighty is a half-sister to Australian stakes winner Chester County (Hennessy).  The mare is also a sister to the dam of the G2 Auckland TBA Stakes winner Ruud Van Slaats (Van Nistelrooy).