Boom two-year-old Earthquake has pleased trainer Peter Snowden in her first public appearance in Victoria at the Cranbourne barrier trials on Thursday.
The second favourite for the Group One Blue Diamond Stakes, the filly was ridden by Damien Oliver and sat three-wide on the speed, hitting the line under her own steam to finish a nose second to unraced Mick Price-trained filly More Radiant.
An impressive debut winner at Randwick in November, Earthquake will return in the Blue Diamond Prelude for fillies at Caulfield on Saturday week.
Snowden said the fact Earthquake had a good blow afterwards showed she would take good improvement from the hitout as she headed towards her grand final in the Blue Diamond on February 22.
"They ran quick time and she wasn't knocked around to do it, but she's had a nice blow and that's what you want to see," Snowden said.
"If she came back and hasn't blown a match out you know there's not much more improvement in her. But I know the horse and she's geared to go in three weeks' time.
"Saturday week she runs (in the Prelude) and then it's two weeks to the Diamond and she'll be spot-on by then."
Earthquake is at $4.60 behind the Gerald Ryan-trained Rubick at $3.20 in Blue Diamond betting.
More Radiant's time of 46.30 seconds was slightly slower than the other three heats for two-year-olds with unraced colt Betcher, trained by Barry and Glen James at Ballarat, clocking the fastest heat time of 46.18 seconds.
Oliver rode Earthquake in the trial, deputising for Darley's stable jockey Kerrin McEvoy who is recovering from a knee injury.
McEvoy hopes to return in time to partner the two-year-old at Caulfield on Saturday week.
Oliver said Earthquake handled the Melbourne way of going without issue and echoed Snowden's sentiments that her fitness would improve from the trial.
Price believes More Radiant is a Group filly in the making, although she isn't nominated for the Blue Diamond.
The Price-trained four-year-old sprinter Lankan Rupee won a classy opening heat in 46.17 seconds, ahead of Unpretentious (second), Victoria Derby winner Polanski (third) and Group One-winner Bel Sprinter (fourth).