The Clinton McDonald-trained filly Causeway Girl is bound for The Championships in Sydney after making a winning return in her first autumn assignment at Flemington.
Stakes-placed at the end of her spring preparation last year, Causeway Girl resumed in Saturday's Furphy Ale Trophy (1100m) and settled back in the field before darting along the inside fence in the straight-track race to win in a tight finish.
Causeway Girl ($5.50), ridden by Damien Oliver, defeated Thine Is The Power by a half-head with a short half-head to Beauty third.
McDonald was confident the three-year-old had had a faultless lead-up to Saturday's race and was pleased to see her deliver first-up ahead of autumn targets in Sydney where he hopes the filly will get rain-affected ground.
"We've got a plan for her and it's coming along nicely," McDonald said.
"We really think she has come on this preparation. She did a good job in her first preparation. We gave her a good spell and hopefully she can reward us this time around.
"I think she's in for a good preparation."
McDonald said Causeway Girl would run in the Group Three PJ Bell Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 6 with the plan to back-up a week later on the second day of The Championships in the Group Two $1 million Arrowfield Sprint (1200m) should she perform well in her first Sydney start.
"We feel that she's a really good wet-tracker," McDonald said.
"So I'm looking forward to getting her on to the wet.
"She has had the perfect preparation, we haven't had anything go wrong with her, and it showed today."