Oaks winner Sofia Rosa begins her Caulfield Cup campaign in the first Australian Group One race of the season and trainer Stephen Marsh believes she can make an immediate impact.
This year's ATC Australian Oaks winner pleased Marsh and race jockey Michael Walker in a jump-out at Flemington on Friday ahead of her season return.
Marsh is excited about the four-race campaign he has mapped out beginning with Saturday's Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
"She hasn't really turned in the coat yet but I think just the way she's coming up she might go a little bit better than expected in the Memsie," Marsh said.
"I certainly don't expect her to win or anything like that but I do think she'll be hitting the line as good as any, and I think she might just go that little bit sharper than what we probably thought originally.
"She's not just a dour staying horse. She still has a good turn of foot and I think you might see that on Saturday."
Marsh said Sofia Rosa had strengthened since her Oaks win in Sydney in April.
"I also think she's a lot more mature mentally which again she had to be, because she can be a bit temperamental," he said.
Walker doesn't think the 1400m will be too short.
"Not on the way she trialled," he said.
The Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) and Turnbull Stakes (2000m) are also on Sofia Rosa's program leading to her main target.
"All going well and if she keeps progressing we'll definitely have a crack at the Caulfield Cup," Marsh said.
And while the Caulfield Cup is the aim, Marsh hasn't ruled out switching to the Cox Plate.
The New Zealand trainer says it's exciting having Sofia Rosa heading to spring features in Melbourne.
"We love bringing horses to Australia and it's just great when you've got a horse up to it and worthy of having a crack against the best," Marsh said.
Listed - East Cape Guineas
G3 - Kings Cup
G2 - Resource Recycling Superstars Championship
G3 - Lamb & Hayward 4&5yo Trotting Championship
G2 - Storer Motors Nz Trotting Oaks