Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh's smile illuminated the doom and gloom yesterday morning as the skies slowly began to clear from the heavy overnight rain at Rosehill, just days out from the A$3.5 million Golden Slipper Stakes.
One of New Zealand's rising stars in the training ranks, Marsh will saddle up 2-year-old Ruud Awakening, who he believes has a distinct liking for the heavy ground, reports the Herald Sun.
"She won on a dead track back home, which is the equivalent of a heavy track here," Marsh said, plus she performed well in a barrier trial in New Zealand on a heavy track.
"You haven't seen our heavies, they're real heavy," he said on Sky Sports Radio.
"We cannot fault her, but the barrier is an issue.
"If it was a New Zealand group one, I'd say bounce her out and lead, but this is a totally different race.
"Whether she has still got the speed to lead, we'll find out."
Marsh will be attempting to become the first New Zealand trainer to win the world's richest 2-year-old race and he has Australia's best jockey in his corner in Craig Williams.
Williams has been a vocal supporter of Ruud Awakening after choosing the Kiwi over Black Opal winner Criterion.
"If I didn't think Ruud Awakening could beat Overreach I wouldn't be on her," Williams said this week. "I would have ridden Criterion instead."
Williams rode the youngster to victory in New Zealand's richest race, the Karaka Million. Since then the filly has enjoyed a group one success at her only run.
"I thought pretty much straight away that she was good enough for the Slipper," Williams said.
Ruud Awakening had been well supported from $18 to $12 before easing to $13, after drawing the outside alley in the 16-horse field.
Both 1987 winner Marauding and 1989 victor Courtza were bred across the Ditch, but Australian-trained.