Star filly Mosheen provided reassurance to her trainer and a warning to her rivals when she made her public reappearance at Monday's Cranbourne trials.
Mosheen wasn't asked to do a lot by jockey Danny Nikolic to finish third in an 800m heat on a bog track, but it was enough to confirm she is making the required progress from autumn to spring.
"She was always in her comfort zone but still had a good gallop," said trainer Robert Smerdon.
"Danny Nikolic rides her in all her work as well as her races, he's our barometer, and he said she was very happy, very strong."
The VRC Oaks, Australian Guineas and Randwick Guineas winner hasn't raced since winning the Group One Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill in April.
Smerdon said he hadn't made a final decision on a race for Mosheen's return, but would now begin some definite planning.
"I thought she might have been a bit behind before today," he said.
"But she showed us today that she's on track.
Mosheen is likely to have another barrier trial in two weeks before beginning a campaign that connections hope will culminate in the WS Cox Plate.
"We think she's a Cox Plate horse and that's the race her preparation is aimed at," Smerdon said.
"The thing about her is that she's got a great capacity for racing and work, so we have plenty of options with her lead-up."
The daughter of Fastnet Rock finishes the current racing season among the top half dozen horses in Australia, having accumulated more than $2.6 million in her first two seasons of racing.
She would more than double that figure if all goes to plan in her four-year-old season.