After sustaining a fractured pelvis after pulling up sore at Echuca in November 2019, the Michael Cornish/Donna Gaskin trained Madam Superior completed a miracle comeback by winning her first metro race last Friday night in Heat 3 of the Summer Sprint Series at The Valley.
The five-year-old mare was given a masterful front-running ride by champion hoop Damien Oliver and the pair clung on for a memorable victory in the shadows of the post.
After finishing second on four occasions since her return to the track, the striking chestnut was able to break through again and land her second career victory at start number 17.
Her co-trainer, a jubilant Michael Cornish, was full of praise for his mighty mare post-race and he explained the long, hard journey it had taken to get her back to the races.
“All the troubles we’ve had with this little mare… she spent twelve months out in the paddock with her fractured pelvis.
“Vet’s gave us no chance. We had her in the paddock for the first six months, we thought this isn’t going to work out. It took us a long haul to get her back. We had some pretty good people around us.
“They did a great job with her early doors. But it’s just been a great thing to even get her to the races then to come out in town and win a race in town.”
Earlier this year her usual rider Jason Maskiell was sidelined indefinitely after a nasty fall at Geelong and Cornish paid tribute to Maskiell in the post-race interview.
“Jason Maskiell’s been huge on her early. I feel sorry for Jason because he is on the sidelines at the moment and he should’ve been riding here today. But thanks to Damien and also Froggy [Craig Newitt]. Good riders have been a part of this horse, and a special mention to Liam Treloar… he’s done a huge job with this mare just to get her back at the races.”
A fractured pelvis is not the only time Madam Superior has been faced with adversity, with Donna Gaskin pointing during the week that when they received her as an unbroken yearling she had swelling in her near-side hock.
“She’s not an easy horse to handle. She’s a big brute of a thing that needs two strappers in the mounting yard.”
“It’s been a huge effort by everyone concerned. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves that she could win (again), but a lot of horses don’t come back from a broken pelvis.”
On what proved to be a milestone night, the victory also took Madam Superior’s career earnings to $100,000, a fitting result and a phenomenal effort for a horse whose vets feared may never race again.
When asked about where the mare would head next, Gaskin stated she would be freshened for three weeks before running in The Valley Summer Sprint Series Final on February 26.
“It would be enormous for everybody [to win]. We’re a smaller stable, we don’t have the horses or money that some of the big stables do. This would get the name in the book.”
Damien Oliver will retain the ride on Madam Superior again in the Final and it’s fair to say the mare will have her admirers backing her to complete the fairytale victory.