Supreme start to year for broodmare gem
By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk
What a 2023 it's been already for the progeny of Christian Cullen mare Supreme Gem.
Between 2011 and 2015 she won eight races with a best mile rate of 1:53.7. Now three of her daughters have won races this year at three different venues.
"As a breeder it's very satisfying," says Prebbleton-based John McDermott.
Trained by McDermott, six-year-old mare Ruby's A Delight (Bettor's Delight - Supreme Gem) got the ball rolling at Rangiora on New Year's Day. It was her sixth success and "she could win some more as well."
She was followed by full sister Sophie, trained by Tyler Dewe, at Roxburgh on January 4 and then the Geoff and James Dunn-trained Topaz (American Ideal - Supreme Gem) at Motukarara on Sunday. It was Sophie and Topaz's first wins.
"It's pretty rare for all three to win so close together ... and great for Supreme Gem, she was top class."
The first foal from speedy racemare Flying Sands (11 wins), Supreme Gem's last race was a winning one at Ashburton in December 2014. She suffered a career-ending leg injury just days later.
She had five foals before dying of colic in February 2021.
"It was a big blow," says McDermott, "but you have to keep going."
Now 73, McDermott reckons he's bred "nearly 100" foals over the years.
"I've been breeding horses since I was 21."
He is also well known for his association with top filly Olga Korbut.
"I was given a half share in her when I was 23 after previously turning down a half share in her brother the champion Noodlum the year before."
She won eight from 58 in the mid to late 1970s, and was a Group 1 winning two-year-old in the 1974/75 season and a New Zealand record-holder at three.
McDermott's trained 55 winners since his first in 2009, with seven wins as an amateur driver as well.
He hopes Supreme Gem's winning progeny will extend to her fifth and final foal I Spy Diamonds. By He's Watching, the three-year-old filly hasn't qualified yet.
"She's promising but just needs more time."