Gem Of Scotland set to make fairytale return at Sunshine Coast


Last year it was feared Queensland’s most promising filly at the time may have to be put down, but Gem Of Scotland is poised to make a back-from-the-brink return to the races at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.

The Rex Lipp-trained excitement machine had won six of her first nine starts and was the $2.60 favourite in the $300,000 QTIS Jewel 3YO on the Gold Coast last March when she suffered a serious injury and was pulled up.

Initial vet feedback was the filly may have to be put down but Lipp sought extra opinions and was told to keep his stable star comfortable and transport her to the University of Queensland Gatton campus where a full diagnosis could be carried out.

Scans revealed Gem Of Scotland had broken part of her hip bone but the pleasing advice was it was likely she could make a full recovery without surgery.

“It was a freak accident, she broke part of her hip bone and I think she did it coming out of the barriers on the Gold Coast,” Toowoomba trainer Lipp said.

“On the Gold Coast that day there was talk about her maybe having to be put down but I got some extra opinions.

“We were very lucky in that when we got her to the Uni, they had just purchased a brand new scanning machine for horses and she was the first horse to use it.

“She didn’t have surgery but it has been a long road and a lot of care and attention has been paid to her.

“She had to be stable-bound for a long time and we got some body suits on her to help stimulate the blood flow which helped her heal.”

Gem Of Scotland, now a four-year-old mare, is set to make her racing return in the $75,000 Open Handicap (1200m) at the Sunshine Coast metropolitan meeting on Saturday where she will reunite with her regular rider James Orman.

Gem Of Scotland has trialled at Toowoomba in preparation and Lipp, who won Group 1s with Tinto in the 2014 Queensland Oaks and Star Shiraz in the 2004 BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes, rates the mare right up there with the best horses he has trained.

He said he couldn’t be happier with her leading into her racing comeback and indicated the only question mark on Saturday will be her “match fitness’’ after being off the scene for almost a year.

If all goes well on Saturday, Gem Of Scotland will then progress to $125,000 race for fillies and mares on Jewel day on the Gold Coast on March 13.

“I’ve been very happy with her gallops – it’s just now whether her mind still wants to race,” Lipp said.

“The winter carnival is in my thinking with her, but first she needs to show me she warrants that.”

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