Mecca's Angel (red and white hoops) surges past the American runner Acapulco to win the Nunthorpe Stakes at York Image by Steven Cargill

Mecca’s Angel (red and white hoops) surges past the American runner Acapulco to win the Nunthorpe Stakes at York
Image by Steven Cargill

Michael Dods expressed himself “pretty pleased” with stall seven for Mecca’s Angel in Sunday’s Prix de l’Abbaye at Chantilly.

The popular grey could be having her swansong in France as she will be retired at the end of this season and sold as a broodmare.

There is a chance she may run over six furlongs at Ascot on Champions Day, but Dods is only looking at this contest for the time being.

Having won a second Nunthorpe last time out, beating July Cup winner Limato convincingly, she is the clear form pick if she reproduces that effort.

With confirmed front-runners Just Glamorous (two) and Take Cover (13) drawn on either wing, jockey Paul Mulrennan has plenty of options.

“We’re pretty pleased with the draw – I honestly don’t think it matters where she is drawn, though, as she does what she wants really,” said Dods.

“Being in the middle just means we’ve got options, Paul can go for cover if he wants and if not we’re happy either way.

“The ground should be perfect if it’s as they say, good ground with showers forecast.

“We’ll just see what happens this weekend before we think about Ascot.”

For Just Glamorous it has been a fairytale season since being beaten at Wolverhampton on his seasonal reappearance off a handicap mark of 69.

Ron Harris has coaxed bundles of improvement out of the three-year-old who has won four times, including a Group Three over course and distance last time out when several of this weekend’s rivals were behind him.

As a trailblazer, Harris could not hide his delight at a draw close to the rail.

“They’ve been very kind, I couldn’t have picked one better myself,” said the Welshman.

“Everything has gone well since his last win there and it’s really exciting to be going back for a Group One. It’s a nine-hour journey to get there, but we know it doesn’t affect him, he’s done it once already.

“What is massively in his favour as a front-runner is the fact that the Chantilly five furlongs is not even five furlongs, it’s some 30 yards short and that suits us.

“Mecca’s Angel always finishes her races off really strong so we’re hoping to be away by then.”

There is only one two-year-old attempting to take advantage of the weight-for-age allowance, John Gosden’s Ardad.

A winner at Royal Ascot in June, he put two disappointing runs behind him to win the Flying Childers on his return to five furlongs at Doncaster.

Bruce Raymond, racing manager for owner Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah said: “He has a very good draw (five) – he’s very close to the favourite.

“It’s a long time since a two-year-old has won it, but he’s in good shape and quickens well. We’re hoping for the best.”

For a yard the size of David Griffiths’ in Bawtry to have two runners in a Group One is some achievement, and both Take Cover and Duke Of Firenze will represent him.

Take Cover is a regular in all the top five-furlong sprints but this will be a step up in class for his stablemate, who has been mostly campaigned in handicaps.

Both are drawn high, with Take Cover in 13 and Duke Of Firenze in 16.

“Being honest, I’m not sure where you want to be drawn, but I would probably have liked them to have been a bit closer to Mecca’s Angel,” said Griffiths.

“Just Glamorous is improving and if you believe what he did last time wasn’t a fluke he’d have to be a big danger, too.

“With a bit of luck Take Cover should be thereabouts, he hasn’t had much of that in this race before, though. Everyone keeps telling me Chantilly is a fairer track, with more room, so you’d hope there are no hard-luck stories.

“The going was too soft in Ireland last time but we’ve managed to get Fran Berry, who is one from one on him.

“It’s a step up for Duke, obviously, but for a yard like ours to have two runners in a Group One on Arc day is very special.”

King’s Stand one-two Profitable and Cotai Glory, last year’s winner Goldream and Sir Mark Prescott’s Marsha are just some of the other British challengers.