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Bowing out: popular ten-year-old Gabrial retired after memorable career

Gabrial pictured after winning the Lincoln in 2015
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Gabrial, a stalwart of the Richard Fahey stable for more than eight years in a 93-race career, has been retired by connections.

The popular Marwan Koukash-owned ten-year-old won the 2015 Lincoln and two Listed races but became equally well known for his consistency, longevity and heroics in defeat.

In a career garnering nearly £850,000 in prize-money, Gabrial finished runner-up in four Group races and emerged with great credit with third-placed finishes behind the brilliant Solow in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Sussex Stakes in 2015. He also chased home Frankel and Farhh in the 2012 Sussex.

Gabrial in numbers

93 starts
9 career victories
838,501 pounds in prize-money
4 second-place finishes in Group races
39 times finished in the first three
15 starts at Marwan Koukash's beloved Chester

Fahey said: "It's a sad day and we'll miss him but at least he's retired sound and right. He was a legend – a true professional and a proper racehorse. 

"We gave him some tough tasks in the Group races and he didn't let us down. He was expensive to keep but I don't think he's ever whipped round or done anything untoward in his life. I just hope he enjoys retirement because he loved this side of it."

Gabrial (left) often ran fine races in defeat in Group company

Gabrial, named after Koukash's son, made a successful debut in a two-year-old maiden at Chester's May meeting in 2011 and there was a sense of his career coming full circle as his last race was on the Roodee last month when he finished fifth in a claimer as the 6-4 favourite.

"I know it was only a claimer but I would have loved for him to have ended with a win at Chester, but it wasn't to be," said Koukash. 

"He's been a wonderful servant and has provided a lot of people with happy memories, and the time has come to say thank you for what he's done.

"He's part of the family and will be coming home to my yard in Knowsley where we have nice paddocks for him to enjoy himself."

Gabrial won the Lincoln at Doncaster in 2015

Three of Gabrial's best races

2015 Lincoln, Doncaster, 1st
Having been stepped up in trip the previous season, Gabrial relished being back at a mile to win the Lincoln on his first start of 2015. As is so often the case, the form of the Flat season curtain-raiser proved to be strong as neck runner-up Mondialiste went on to score at the highest level in the US. Doncaster became Gabrial's favourite track as he won the Listed Doncaster Mile in 2013 and twice finished fourth in the Lincoln in 2017 and 2018.

2012 Sussex Stakes, Goodwood, 3rd
Gabrial may have played a minor role in finishing third of four in the Sussex Stakes but it was a memorable race with the mighty Frankel and subsequent two-time Group 1 winner Farhh finishing in front of him. Sent off an 80-1 shot against his elders, the then three-year-old was no match for the illustrious pair but emerged with credit after staying on to be beaten only three and a quarter lengths by the runner-up.

2017 Diomed Stakes, Epsom, 2nd
Derby day in 2017 was the closest Gabrial came to landing a deserved Group success but it wasn't to be as he was pipped a neck by fellow northern stalwart Sovereign Debt. Under a patient Frankie Dettori, Gabrial came with a late flourish in the final furlong only to be denied. It was the second time Ruth Carr's gallant grey had been his nemesis as the pair filled the same places in the Group 2 Bet365 Mile at Sandown earlier in the season. 

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He was a legend - a true professional and a proper racehorse
E.W. Terms