Renowned British owner Marwan Koukash may be offered another legitimate chance at Melbourne Cup success this year, with impressive stayer Angel Gabrial charging clear to win the Northumberland Plate (3200m) at Newcastle.
Known in Australia largely for his flamboyant antics through recent Spring Racing Carnivals, Koukash was offered a great chance of success in the 2013 Melbourne Cup via Mount Athos, who produced an exceptional final straight sprint to finish third behind Fiorente and Red Cadeaux.
Having arguably hit career-best form over his current preparation, Koukash told Racing UK a tilt at the Melbourne Cup is a very realistic possibility for Angel Gabrial this year.
“If there’s a lot more to come he may even go for a Melbourne Cup,” Koukash said.
“He’s not far off the rating needed now.”
Securing an impressive total of five wins and six minor places from just 22 competitive starts to date, trainer Richard Fahey echoed Koukash’s sentiments of the Hurricane Run gelding, adding an impressive performance for second in the Chester Cup on May 7th may figure as the telling sign in the possible trip to Australia.
“Most two-milers like him don’t have a turn of foot, but he does,” Fahey said.
“Marwan will probably be thinking about Melbourne now. Whether he’s get in, I don’t know, but I’d live to have a runner out there. He’s that sort of horse.
Yet to contest an event outside his native Great Britain, Angel Gabrial was unlucky to finish fourth when blocked for a run in the Coral Mobile Handicap (2414m) first-up this campaign before securing the same result when charging home from the rear of the pack in the Totepool Live Info Handicap (2816m) on April 18th.
Returning to the winner’s circle in the Sky Handicap (3200m) just one week later, the gelding out of Causeway Song was unlucky to finish second in the Chester Cup when blocked for a run early in the final straight, but more than stamped his claims for a Melbourne Cup berth when winning the Northumberland Plate by nearly four lengths overnight.
Having become a globetrotter over recent seasons, Mount Athos finished third in the Group 2 Dubawi City Of Gold Cup (2400m) first-up this campaign and eighth in the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic (2400m) before returning to winning form in the Listed Aston Park Stakes (2670m) most recently on May 17th.