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Saturday 13 April 2019

Mecca’s Angel Nunthorpe Stakes Winner

Foaled on February 11, 2011, Mecca’s Angel was a daughter of Dark Angel, a leading sire of sprinters, out of a mare by Atraf, another high-class sprinter, so was always destined to campaign over short distances. Indeed, between May 2013 and October 2016, Mecca’s Angel ran in a total of twenty races, all bar three of them over the minimum distance of 5 furlongs and the others over 5½ and 6 furlongs. All in all, she won ten times, including the Group Three World Trophy at Newbury, Group Three Prix de Saint-Georges at Longchamp, Group Two Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh and, most notably, successive renewals of the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at York, in 2015 and 2016. All of her wins came over 5 furlongs and she amassed just shy of £680,000 in win and place prize money.

Owned by David “Mecca” Metcalfe and trained by Michael Dods in Denton, Co. Durham, Mecca’s Angel made a bright start to her career, winning her maiden at Hamilton in June, 2013, at the second time of asking, and following up, by 12 lengths, in a minor handicap on the Fibresand surface at Southwell just over two weeks later. Raised 17lb in the weights for her Southwell romp, she was subsequently beaten favourite, although second on both occasions, in the Julia Graves Roses Stakes at York and Blah Blah Stakes at Haydock, before finishing fourth of 23 in the Two-Year-Old-Trophy at Redcar on her first attempt over 6 furlongs. 

On her first two starts as a three-year-old, Mecca’s Angel was the impressive winner of handicaps at Thirsk and Hamilton, prompting a further 10lb rise in the weights, before being raised in class and distance for the Prix Texanita at Longchamp in May. She was a beaten favourite, once again, in the latter contest but, after four months off, returned to record her first Listed and Pattern race successes at Doncaster and Newbury, respectively.  

Her four-year-old campaign was restricted to just three starts, of which the highlight was, unquestionably, her 2-length defeat of Queen Mary Stakes winner, Acapulco, who was receiving 24lb, on her first attempt in Group One company in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York. Indeed, that effort was only bettered by her performance in the same race the following year, in which she not only beat the July Cup winner Limato by 2 lengths but came within a whisker of breaking the course record set by Dayjur – once dubbed ‘the fastest horse in the world’ by the Racing Post – in 1990. 

The following October, Mecca’s Angel started 6/4 favourite for the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp but, having taken the lead inside the final two furlongs, weakened close home to finish third, beaten just three-quarters of a length, behind Marsha. Following her final race, the British Champions Sprint at Ascot in October 2016, in which she finished only twelfth of thirteen, beaten 12 lengths, behind The Tin Man, Mecca’s Angel was retired from racing and subsequently sold, privately, for an undisclosed fee.