Mary Shan primed for Australian debut at Eagle Farm

Mary Shan
Mary Shan will contest the Group 3 Gunsynd Classic (1600m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday. Photo: Kenton Wright (Race Images)

After highly creditable performances in seven Group races during the New Zealand season, Mary Shan has an opportunity to prove herself across the Tasman in Saturday’s Group 3 Gunsynd Classic (1600m) at Eagle Farm.

The Andrew Forsman-trained filly has travelled to Australia in winning form, having romped home by five and a half lengths in a three-year-old race at Pukekohe on May 25.

That was Mary Shan’s first appearance outside of black-type company since October. In between times the daughter of Almanzor finished second in the Group 2 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m), fifth in the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m), second in the Group 2 Eight Carat Classic (1600m), fourth in the Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m), fifth in the Group 2 David & Karyn Ellis Fillies’ Classic (2000m), sixth in the Group 3 Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) and fourth in the Group 3 Rotorua Stakes (1400m).

It was the fifth placing in the Fillies’ Classic at Te Rapa in February that prompted Forsman to consider the Queensland Winter Carnival.

“We got her up to 2000m for that race at Te Rapa and realised that she’s not really suited to those longer distances at this point of her career,” the Cambridge trainer said.

“That’s when Queensland started to come on to her radar a little bit. We decided to give her a little freshen up, then bring her back with couple of runs over shorter distances and see where we got to.

“That last-start win at Pukekohe was a nice confidence-booster for her. She’d been a bit unlucky in the Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes and Rotorua Stakes in those first two runs back, so it was good to see her get back into winning form that day. It gave us the confidence to take her over to Brisbane and have a go at some black type.

“She handled the travel really well and has thrived since then, which often happens when they come from our cold New Zealand winter into the warmer climate at the Gold Coast. She looks great.”

Mary Shan will be ridden by Tyler Schiller and has drawn gate 14 in a full field of 18.

“That’s the frustrating part,” Forsman said. “With the racing style that she has, she probably would have appreciated a better draw. She’s going to have to get back and give a head start to some talented horses. But we couldn’t be happier with how she’s looking leading into the race.”

The Gunsynd Classic is worth $200,000 and might be Mary Shan’s only appearance during the Queensland Winter Carnival.

“We could think about giving her one more run, but I’m mindful that she’s had quite a long season,” Forsman said. “So it’s possible she’ll be ready for a break after this. We’ll get this race out of the way first and then make up our minds.”

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