Last year’s Blue Diamond winning filly Earthquake is coming along super following a smooth preparation into the autumn with trainer John O’Shea confirming the Godolphin-owned three-year-old will trial at Cranbourne on Monday.
It will be her second official trial of the season following a narrow victory over 800m at the same track on January 29 in slick time.
Jockey Chad Schofield is again set to partner Earthquake as she gears up for a resuming run in the $400,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield Racecourse on February 28.
“I thought her first trial was excellent,” O’Shea told Racing HQ on Thursday morning.
“She’ll go into the Oakleigh Plate first-up in a couple of weeks.
“We’re very, very happy with her. She’s had a lovely smooth preparation.”
Schofield is then the preferred option to continue his association with Earthquake in the Oakleigh Plate and so will be staying on a strict diet to get down to 50kg for the lightweight ride.
“Chad will have to make the 50kg for the Oakleigh Plate,” O’Shea said.
“It looks a nice race for her.”
That meeting is the same one she really hit headlines for the first time as a two-year-old last Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival when she retained her undefeated status winning the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) three runs into her career.
Earthquake was originally prepared by Peter Snowden before O’Shea took over the job as head trainer for Godolphin.
Her first defeat was a second behind the Hawkes-trained Mossfun in the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) in the wet at Rosehill last April.
During the spring she ran third in the Furious Stakes and Tea Rose Stakes in Sydney before a Group 3 Thoroughbred Club Stakes (1200m) win in Melbourne on October 11.
Her last start was on Victoria Derby Day at Flemington on November 1 when she ran a luckless eighth to the Chris Waller-trained Brazen Beau in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) finishing the best of those near the inside.
Things now look very much on track for her to return to form this autumn starting with the Oakleigh Plate at the end of the month.
Her other major autumn aim in Melbourne is then likely to be the $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on Super Saturday, March 14.
Pre-field Newmarket Handicap odds are now open at Ladbrokes.com.au with markets led by the Team Hawkes-trained Darley Classic runner-up Chautauqua ($4.20), winner of the race Terravista ($4.80) and Chautauqua’s undefeated stablemate Deep Field ($5).
Earthquake is also in the top half of futures Newmarket Handicap betting paying $17.
Connections are also looking at a possible winter trip to Adelaide on May 2 with the filly who could target the $400,000 Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) for fillies and mares at Morphettville on May 2.
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