Ruud Awakening all but booked her ticket to next month's Golden Slipper Stakes when she completely dominated the first group one juvenile field of the season in the Haunui Farm Diamond Stakes at Ellerslie yesterday.
It now seems just a matter of how the brilliant filly comes through yesterday's scintillating performance to decide whether connections will pay the A$150,000 entry fee to the A$3.5 million feature, scheduled for April 6 in Sydney.
In the glow of his first Group One victory, trainer Stephen Marsh confirmed that the Golden Slipper is definitely under consideration given the ease with which Ruud Awakening won today's 1200-metre feature, running the distance in a carnival best 1m 08.78s with a final 600 metres in 33.73.
"She was awesome, she did exactly what we thought she would and she did it in great style," Marsh said.
"The thing about her is that she looks as if she's getting cheap sectionals and then you see a time like that.
Bounding, who was responsible for Ruud Awakening's only defeat at Pukekohe back in November, had the tables turned on her today with a brave effort for second. Al Strada did best of the males finishing on solidly for third two lengths behind Bounding, with a gap of four and a half lengths to Girl Of My Dreams.
Dubai here we come!" was the emphatic message delivered by star weight-for-age galloper Ocean Park as he trounced a quality field in the group one Lindauer New Zealand Stakes yesterday.
Ocean Park is booked on a flight to Sydney next Sunday and then on to Dubai for the 1800-metre Duty Free on March 30.
After Dubai trainer Gary Hennessy plans to head to England, where he has plans to start Ocean Park in the Queen Anne Stakes over a mile at the Royal Ascot meeting in June followed by other assignments across Europe.
Veyron, who like Ocean Park is by the ill-fated Thorn Park, was second and Better Than Ever was just a length behind in third.