Trainer Gerald Ryan hesitated at putting his star filly Snitzerland at the top of his personal list after her Champagne Stakes (1200m) win at Moonee Valley.
But there was a sense that he is preparing to promote her.
Snitzerland ($1.40) led throughout to make the Group Three event her fifth win from eight starts, by 1-3/4 lengths from Hoss Amour ($9), setting the scene for a spring that could leave her as one the stars of Australian racing.
Ryan said he rates Snitzerland among the best he's trained, but wasn't prepared to put her on a par with his champion mare Melito.
"I'd say she's more precocious, more professional than Melito was at the same age," Ryan said.
"But I can't put her in front of Melito yet. She won Group One races against older horses, she was very special.
"But this filly has just as much potential."
Snitzerland will run in the Blue Sapphire Stakes at Caulfield in two weeks before rounding off her spring campaign in the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington.
As comprehensive as her victory appeared, jockey Corey Brown said Snitzerland had been distracted by the track lighting and would be improved by the run.
"The lights took her focus away a bit ... she'll give a lot more next time."
Runner-up to Pierro in the Golden Slipper, Snitzerland is undefeated in three starts as a three-year-old.