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Three-year-old filly Earthquake looks ready for an impressive autumn after winning a barrier trial at Cranbourne on Thursday morning.
The John O’Shea-trained filly recorded a narrow victory over Cristalina Lago in the 800 metre heat, crossing the line at 45.82 seconds.
Chad Schofield partnered Earthquake in the trial and was impressed with the performance. He noted the filly had come back from her spell really well and looks on track for her first up run of the season, which could be in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield Racecourse on February 28.
“Her trial was impressive. She jumped well, travelled outside the leader and was strong to the line,” Schofield told Racing Victoria.
“She ran a pretty slick time and pulled up without having much of a blow so I’m sure she’s right where the stable wants her.
“She’s a high class horse who seems to have come back really well.”
Earthquake won the $1 million Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) last autumn as a two-year-old along with the Group 2 Reisling Stakes (1200m) before finishing runner-up in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) in April.
After a five month spell, the filly returned in the spring to finish third in both the Group 2 Furious Stakes (1200m) and Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) but managed to win the Group 3 Thoroughbred Club Stakes (1200m) on October 11.
The Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) on November 1 was the first time Earthquake finished outside the first three. She ran the best of those near the inside but was still six and a half lengths behind winner Brazen Beau in eighth place.
Earthquake looks to have returned to her winning form in Thursday’s barrier trial. Assistant trainer David Charles was quick to note the filly has also made good physical improvement in her nearly three months in the spelling paddock.
“She looks like a fully furnished filly now so that should hopefully stand her in good stead when she takes on the older horses during the autumn carnival,” he said.
The Godolphin filly was also one of 57 sprinters nominated for the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 14 that closed on Tuesday while racing manager Jason Walsh previously highlighted the Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville on May 2 as Earthquake’s main autumn target.
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