The Gurkha shows an exceptional turn of foot to win the Sussex Stakes
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Lewis Porteous 6:30PM 21 SEP 2016
AIDAN O’BRIEN has paid tribute to Classic winner The Gurkha, after connections decided he would not race again having suffered a displaced colon a little more than two weeks after a thrilling success in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes in July.
Although reported to have recovered well from colic surgery in August, the decision was taken to call time on a short but highly successful career to take up stallion duties in 2017.
O’Brien said: “From day one he showed us he was a top-class colt. He was always a beautiful mover and physically he was a great shape.
“It was a blow to lose him for racing with so much of the season left. He showed us plenty last year but wasn’t able to make the track due to a few setbacks. He was very green first time out this year but then bolted up in a maiden at Navan before winning the French Guineas really well.
“He ran very well in the St James’s Palace and the Eclipse before winning the Sussex. He was a top-class Galileo with loads of speed. He was a magnificent specimen and a very courageous horse.”
Owned by the Coolmore partners, The Gurkha came to prominence when he blitzed clear to land the Poule d’Essai des Poulains in May on just his third career start before proving without doubt to be one of the best of his generation over a mile.
After his Classic success at Deauville, The Gurkha finished runner-up to Galileo Gold in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, before filling the same spot on his first attempt at a mile and a quarter in the Coral-Eclipse, going down by just half a length to Godolphin’s Hawkbill after a titanic battle.
Just three and half weeks later, dropping back to a mile, he took his revenge on Galileo Gold in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, showing an exceptional turn of foot to register a neck verdict over his Ascot conqueror.
That proved to be his final run, and after suffering a displaced colon he underwent surgery at the Fethard Equine Hospital in County Tipperary.
He retires to Coolmore Stud, where he will stand alongside his sire next year, as the winner of three of his six races and £996,217 in prize-money.