Oozing with potential, Luke Oliver mare Star Lani resumes today at Sandown Hillside looking to kick off her autumn campaign the way she finished last preparation.
The four-year-old daughter of Testa Rossa lines up in the Hyland Race Colours Restricted 72 (1000m) looking primed to snatch a third win from just four career starts.
She's the most lightly raced of this lot, and clearly has the most upside after closing out last campaign with a gutsy win over Loveyamadly down the straight at Flemington in July last year.
That was the highlight of her brief career to date and Oliver made an astute decision to send her to the paddock after that triumph rather than pushing on to chase the riches of the spring.
Oliver's timing in bringing back Star Lani mirrors his clever decision to put her away after that Flemington win. Melbourne will pass the Australian feature-racing baton to Sydney after this weekend's meeting at Flemington, which features the Newmarket Handicap and the Australian Cup.
That should dilute the elite talent pool south of the Murray River for the next couple of months, potentially allowing a horse like Star Lani to rapidly progress through the grades and bank a substantial amount of prize-money.
Before peering too far into the crystal ball though, she has to deal with today's assignment at Sandown. And that win over Loveyamadly last campaign looks just the ticket to ensure she continues her rich vein of form.
She settled midfield on that occasion over this trip, found a bit of galloping room about 350m from home and then produced a run of precision in the final furlong to stick her head in front on the line.
The run produced a weight-adjusted Timeform figure of 83, which has her comfortably clear of today's opposition.
While Star Lani has been lapping up life in the paddock, Loveyamadly has strongly proven the strength of that form, winning three times since, most recently at Flemington on the weekend.
Four days back Loveyamadly broke 33sec in a sizzling last 600m to win the fillies and mares open sprint at Flemington, just edging out Avoid Lightning by the barest of margins.
She ran to her Timeform peak of 102 in winning the race, the same figure she produced when beaten a nose in the Group 3 Bellmaine Stakes (1200m) three weeks ago.
Avoid Lightning went into the weekend's race off a narrow win in the Listed WJ Adams Stakes (1000m) where she beat home the likes of Canali, First Command and Eight Bills back on February 2.
She ran to a master figure of 110 in winning the WJ Adams.
Star Lani certainly wouldn't have improved that much over her 228-day break, but those form-lines suggest she can take it to a new level this time in.
Just for good measure, she won a barrier trial at Werribee last month to tune up for this one, and while has to carry 58.5kg, still rates well clear of the rest of these.
And jockey Noel Callow going on board for the first time might just be the icing on the cake. He has struck a purple patch of form lately after recently returning from a successful stint in Malaysia.
Star Lani settled midfield when winning at Flemington prior to a break, but the start before she led from start to finish in winning a Geelong maiden by 5.5L. Don't be surprised to see Oliver and Callow employ a similar tactic today.
Robert Smerdon's resuming Glenmaura looms as the most likely danger.
Her form last campaign was mixed, but a couple of heavy tracks didn't exactly aid her cause.
Sandwiched between two well-beaten runs on heavy surfaces, the four-year-old Bel Esprit mare produced a strong effort in winning a mid-week race at Caulfield.
The run netted a weight-adjusted Timeform figure of 77, and she looks well in this one, carrying 55kg with the talented Jackie Berriman's 3kg claim.
Glenmaura is untried at this track but has won twice in three starts over the 1000m and is a previous fresh-up winner. Whether she's in the same league as Star Lani is to be determined, but she looks a solid each-way chance today.
What A Treat is a curious runner for Darren Weir.
The ex-Todd Rawiller galloper debuted for her new stable at Terang a month ago, winning a $25,000 Restricted 68 race over 1000m.
That was her sixth win in what's been a solid career to date, and produced a new Timeform master figure of 81.
Her second-up record reads okay, which suggests there might well be improvement to come now she's had another month inside the in-form Weir yard.
She also claims 3kg today, which gets down to 57kg, setting the stage for another solid performance.
Oamaru Princess comes under notice here after a couple of recent wins, but she doesn't look to have the upside of the Lani Star.