Molly Bloom has had the measure of Mary Shan in two of their three meetings to date, and the latter's trainer Andrew Forsman is hoping the step-up to 2000m in Saturday's Group 2 David and Karyn Ellis Fillies' Classic at Te Rapa will help even the ledger between the pair.
“She (Molly Bloom) has had the better of us to this point, so we are hoping when we get beyond a mile that will change,” Forsman told TAB NZ.
The fillies first met in the Group 2 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) last October, where Mary Shan finished runner-up to Impendabelle, while Molly Bloom was fourth. They clashed again in the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton a few weeks later where Molly Bloom showed her class when capturing the Classic, while Mary Shan finished fifth.
Molly Bloom went on to finish seventh in the Karaka Millions 3YO Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie last month, while Mary Shan ran fourth behind Quintessa in the Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham a fortnight prior.
Forsman was pleased with Mary Shan's Trentham performance and said she has enjoyed the month between runs.
“It was a very good run (in the Levin Classic),” he said. “It's hard to be exposed that far out at Trentham and I thought she was very game to the line to finish as close as she did. It was full of merit.
“We gave her a pretty quiet week post Trentham and then she has built up steadily toward this.
“She has had a good gap between races, which will be a little bit of a query going to the 2000m, but we didn't feel we could run in everything and have her competitive in an Oaks (Group 1, 2400m).
“Mary Shan has got brilliance, but now she has got to prove that she can take that to 2000m.”
Mary Shan will be joined in Saturday's contest by stablemate Positivity.
The daughter of Almanzor has won one of her three starts to date and finished seventh in the Group 3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham last month, but Forsman said the track conditions weren't to her liking.
“I think it (step up to 2000m) will suit positivity,” he said. “She is a big, rangy type who just struggled on a shifty track at Trentham last start. She really never got going in the ground. She will be better suited on a firmer deck on Saturday.”