Mecca’s Angel once again proved the fastest around as she dominated and thrashed a high class field in the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York this afternoon.
Connections of last year’s winner Mecca’s Angel must have been delighted as the rain began to fall at York earlier in the day and continued through to race time.
Twenty of the best sprinters around lined-up for this contest and at the break it was Take Cover who led with Thesme, Ifrranesia and Mecca’s Angel.
Settling down, Take Cover and Thesme duelled down the centre of the course with Mecca’s Angel also prominent on the far side.
Just as she did last time out at the Curragh, last year’s winner went on at a relatively early stage and from that moment was always in control.
Inside the final furlong Mecca’s Angel and Paul Mulrennan put distance between themselves and the remainder, with the July Cup winner Limato emerging on the far rail to give chase.
But over the minimum trip, he simply did not have the toe to bridge the gap, although he drew well clear of the rest of the field.
At the line Mecca’s Angel was clear of Limato, with a big gap back to the magnificent veteran Take Cover who just held on for third, ahead of Cotai Glory.
The Michael Dods trained 5 year old Mecca’s Angel was winning back to back Nunthorpe Stakes and emulating another Yorkshire-trained horse Borderlescott as the last to accomplish that feat.
Dods confirmed afterwards that Mecca’s Angel will retire to stud later this year.
Mulrennan said: “She’s a very special filly, she’s an aeroplane on her day – she’s the best and that’s probably her best performance. She’s great for everyone involved.
“I love to say she’s complicated and I have to do this and that, but I just have to point her.
“At the two pole I said ‘go’ and she did!”
Dods said: “I had a sleepless night last night because they weren’t going to put any water on and I thought ‘what if the rain doesn’t come in time?’.
“Driving here today I got to within half an hour of the track and it was raining.
“I talked to the jockeys after the first and walked it. I said to the owner I’d be happy to let her run as it would be good ground come the race.
“This is the ground she wants. She doesn’t want it soft. On good ground she’s got another two gears.
“I said to Paul just keep it simple – jump, travel, take a lead and when you’re happy press the button. That’s what he did, she’s quickened away and had it won two out.”
Owner David Metcalfe said: “That was unbelievable. She’s probably won it easier than last year.
“It’s just marvellous to have a horse like her. She’s won it two years on the trot and nearly broken the track record.”
Dods added: “Limato is a very good horse and finished second, but she put the race to bed a long way home.
“Ascot (beat one home in the King’s Stand Stakes) was a big blip – she was in season and didn’t have her conditions – so I’m delighted she showed just what a good horse she is.
“She won’t race next year – she’ll be sold to stud – but I’ll be keen to try her over six (furlongs) before she retires. There’s the sprint at Ascot on Champions Day and there’s also the Abbaye on Arc weekend. There’s a possibility she could run in both.
“Words can’t explain how I feel at the moment. I’m delighted for the whole team and it’s also great for the north.”
Limato’s trainer Henry Candy said: “I’m delighted with that run. It was a fantastic effort behind a true five-furlong specialist.
“Our only hope of beating her, I think, was if the ground stayed quick, but the rain arrived just at the wrong time.
“In any case, it was still a very quick time and I think he’s run as well as at Newmarket (July Cup). It was worth a crack and it was good fun.
“I think the ground will have gone by Ascot, Chantilly (Prix de la Foret) could be an option, but it would be no surprise if he doesn’t run again until the Breeders’ Cup.
“He’d go for the Sprint on turf. I’m still convinced he gets a mile, which is hard to believe after that.”
His rider Harry Bentley said: “It was a big performance, she’s a specialist over five furlongs.
“I was tracking her and everything went smoothly, I don’t feel hard done by.”
David Griffiths said of Take Cover: “That was excellent, the first two are very good horses. The rain did us no good, but I’m still chuffed to bits.
“When they came to him he really stuck his neck out and stayed on again.
“I think we’ll look at the Flying Five at the Curragh next. That’s the first time he’s been placed in a Group One.”