What do former Group racing stars Sydney Dingaan, Dallas Duo, Bomber Gleeson, Nashemraro, Star Of Mine, Elektra, and Lektra Jay have in common? The answer is that they are all descendants of Sydney Gem, arguably the most pre-potent dam tail-line producer Australia has ever seen.
That’s a big call of course and, to be totally honest, I cannot claim to be a breeding expert, yet even the amateur that I am can see something incredibly striking about the presence of Sydney Gem in a pedigree.
A black bitch whelped in March 1978, by the imported sire Lively Band out of the imported dam Monalee Again, Sydney Gem’s influence, by way of the brood barn, remains impressive. The Victorian-domiciled bitch formed a major part of prominent breeder Brian Lenahan’s line.
Yet Sydney Gem’s influence is exerted purely by way of her presence in the dam, rather than the sire, line. Even there, she is almost invariably at the bottom, that is, the last name to appear in a pedigree when looking top to bottom. So, if she is the grand-dam she will be the fourth name on the line; if she is the great-grand dam she will be the eighth; then the 16th and so forth.
Her most famous direct descendant was the brilliant sprinting bitch Sydney Dingaan whose biggest successes were victory in the 1985 Melbourne Cup (downing kennelmate Shining Chariot) for trainer Ned Bryant and the 1986 Sir Arthur Rylah Sapphire Classic. In 1986 she was second in the Victorian National Sprint Championship State Final (to Shining Chariot) and a finalist in the 1987 Cranbourne Cup (also won by Shining Chariot).
At stud, Sydney Dingaan was mated with Shining Chariot, and the resultant June 1988 litter included Immortal Flash, runner-up in the 1990 Maturity Classic and a finalist in the 1992 Victorian National Sprint Championship State Final.
Merciless Lu, the 2007 South Australian Derby and Dapto Puppy Classic winner, was by Carnage out of Lulu Magoo. The dam was out of Alight, who was out of Bay Miss, out of Dainty Daisy, out of Sydney Dingaan, out of Sydney Gem.
Sydney Gem was mated with Tangairn. One of the products of that resultant April 1985 litter was Hoppy’s Girl who, in turn, became the dam of Victorian speedster Dallas Duo. His biggest success was the 1993 Ballarat Cup but he also ran second in the 1992 Melbourne Cup and Brisbane Cup. He was a finalist in the 1992 Victorian National Sprint Championship State Final (along with his maternal relation Immortal Flash), Maturity Classic, and Traralgon Cup.
In fact the line from Sydney Gem through Hoppy’s Girl was especially strong, with the likes of Bomber Gleeson (1991 Silver Chief Classic, 1992 Hobart Thousand and Warrnambool Cup and twice third in the Australian Cup and third in the Golden Easter Egg) and litter brother Nashemraro (1992 Anniversary Trophy) being outstanding. Sheedy (1991 Warragul Cup winner) was another.
Sydney Gem, via Hoppy’s Girl, appears as the grand-dam of Star Of Mine (Aug 1996). Another grand sprinter, Star Of Mine won the 1999 Silver Bullet, Shepparton Cup and Wangaratta Cup, and was third in the 1999 Golden Easter Egg and a finalist in the 1998 Melbourne Cup and 1999 Warragul Cup.
Even more modern, the 2008 WA Greyhound of the Year Elektra (Feb 2004) traces her tail-line ancestry back through her dam Natural Class who was out of Hoppy’s Star, out of Hoppy’s Girl and back to Sydney Gem.
Elektra, of course, is the dam of current star sprinter/stayer Lektra Jay, a winner of around $240,000 in prize money. So Sydney Gem sits back at number 32 on the list.
Pretty Meg, who won 33 races, including nine at Albion Park, traces her dam tail-line through Hoppy’s Girl and Sydney Gem. She was the mother of Sudden Ability, also a winner of nine Albion Park races and a runner-up in the Publican’s Cup.
Others of some note to carry Sydney Gem in their tail line are Speedy Lino, Avondale Star, Groovy Walk, Supa Snoop, Supa Instinct, and Awesome Magic to name just six.
For keen students of pedigrees and influences I imagine knowing Sydney Gem is prominent in the tail-line of a prospective purchase must surely help in the confidence stakes.