Team Murka is delighted to announce the successful cloning of Olympic medal-winning show jumper Gem Twist and the addition of the colt, Murka’s Gem, to its already globally successful stable. Thanks to French genetic bank Cryozootech and the agreement of the Chapot family, the birth of Murka’s Gem has been made possible. Gem Twist was one of the most successful show jumping horses of all time. Owned and bred by Frank Chapot, the Thoroughbred gelding was competed for the United States of America by Greg Best, Leslie Howard and Frank and Mary Chapot’s daughter, Laura Chapot. He was born in 1979 and died in 2006. During his career, the grey gelding won team and individual silver under Greg Best at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, was three times American Grand Prix Association Horse of the Year and was named “World’s Best Horse” at the 1990 Stockholm World Equestrian Games.
After Gem Twist’s death in 2006, Cryozootech began work on producing his first clone on behalf of the Chapot family. Success was achieved in 2008 when “Gemini” was foaled. The colt foal followed his genetic donor’s growth pattern, starting off chestnut in colour before turning grey. Since then a second successful clone of Gem Twist, Murka’s Gem has been born, in 2011, and, like his predecessor, he displays the same developmental traits and patterns.
As a gelding, Gem Twist could not be bred from, which was frustrating for those who wished to continue his line. His successful cloning has now allowed that to be changed, as his reproductively entire clones will be able to pass on his highly-sought genetics.
Olga White, founder of Team Murka, said: “It is absolutely unbelievable that we have a perfectly entire clone of Gem Twist, recognised by many as the greatest show jumper to have lived and competed. For my rider, Peter Charles, this is a dream come true. A few years ago we would not even have dreamed. Thanks to Frank and Mary Chapot and the assistance of Eric Palmer from Cryozootech, it is now a reality.
“Gem Twist was a horse with a heart of gold who would never say die. This is what makes a good show jumper into a great show jumper. Whilst the FEI has recently lifted restrictions on clones and their offspring competing, there are currently no plans to compete Murka’s Gem. He will be an addition to and instrumental in Team Murka’s breeding programme.”
Eric Palmer, chief executive and founder of Cryozootech, added: “The genetic bank of Cryozootech allowed Olga, with the agreement of Frank and Mary Chapot, to obtain her clone of Gem Twist, the horse of her dreams.”
“Other champion horses are also available in Cryozootech’s bank, ready for cloning.
So it is not necessary to be the owner of the champion horse to possess his clone. One just has to consult the catalogue of Cryozootech cell bank.”
Now a yearling, Murka’s Gem is being stabled in the United States. He will remain there until the New Year 2013 when he will be flown to Great Britain to stand at stud.