Paris Gem shines

Paris Gem and very pleased trainer Sue Naylor after the win at Ballarat. Photo: Pat Scala/Racing Photos

A bargain buy as a weanling for just $800, Paris Gem is the pin-up girl in trainer Sue Naylor’s stables off the Woodend-Tylden Road.
“While she’s still small, but very honest and has got stronger as she has become older,” was how Naylor described the six-year-old mare after her runaway win at the Ballarat Synthetic track last week.
“She’s in career-best form, and will probably have one more start before going for a spell.”
Paris Gem is raced by the trainer and partner James Fowler, and has chalked up $76,625 in prizemoney from 36 starts, including three wins.
This outcome exceeded all expectations from the time when the trainer took a liking to the very small chestnut at the Oaklands weanling sales, and secured her for $800.
“She’s got a lovely temperament and is easy to train,” Naylor said.
Naylor has always had an affinity with horses, with her father Ray being an established trainer when she attended Mount Barker Senior High School in Western Australia.
A move to Victoria followed, and Naylor has been training locally for nearly 30 years. She rides her gallopers in track work on her 67-acre property, and also at the Kyneton racehorse.
At one stage she had about 20 gallopers on the books, but has scaled down the team in recent years.
“We’ve only got six at present, with two racing and some young ones scheduled to have a trial at Tatura on Monday (yesterday).”
Paris Gem’s close fourth at Pakenham at her previous run gave Naylor and Fowler confidence of a good showing at Ballarat, despite her being a $10 chance.
Apprentice Will Price, who has lost his claim on country tracks, rode the mare to perfection, settling back in the field in the Sportsbet Footy Fill Up Benchmark 58 event, and making a move to hit the front at the 150m mark.
Producing her very best, Parish Gem drew clear to score impressively by three lengths.
Naylor has bred some gallopers at the farm over the years, and clearly recalls her first winner as a trainer — with Smoke The Clay at Kyneton in 1993.
A young Damien Oliver had the winning ride, and he went on to be a champion …. Smoke The Clay won 12 races.
Another favourite galloper for Naylor was Fonome, who had nine wins and over $400,000 in stakes to his credit when he retired about 15 years ago.