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Mecca’s Angel swoops to deny Acapulco in Nunthorpe

21 Aug 2015

Mecca’s Angel nabbed Acapulco in the final 50 yards in a thrilling finish to the 2015 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York on the third day of the Ebor Yorkshire Festival.

Mecca's Angel Nunthorpe Stakes win

Mecca’s Angle storms away from Acapulco (headgear) in the closing stages of the Nunthorpe Stakes (image courtesy of racingfotos.com)

Backers of two-year-old speedster Acapulco, who was ultimately sent off 13/8, were vanquished late on in the Nunthorpe by Michael Dods’s Mecca’s Angel, who wore down the trailblazing favourite near to the line.

It was virtually the first time that Wesley Ward’s Queen Mary winner had been passed in the whole race. She blasted out from stall 4 and soon held a clear lead, which she extended to clear daylight in the final two furlongs.

It looked at that point as though the race was over bar the shouting, but Mecca’s Angel emerged from the pack as others toiled. Inside the final half-furlong, it became clear that the momentum she’d built up would take her past Acapulco were she able to maintain it. She did, and would eventually prevail by two lengths as Acapulco tired. There was a similar margin back to third-placed Mattmu, who’d been second in the Duke of York Stakes here back in May, while dual winner Sole Power was an admirable fourth in a race that probably didn’t play to his strengths.

Jockey Paul Mulrennan was enjoying a first Group 1 win and was visibly delighted as Mecca’s Angel crossed the line. Asked about her immediately after the race, he said “We’ve been talking about how good she is all year, and now she’s proved it”.

Trainer Michael Dods was keen to praise others in the aftermath. “We’ve been lucky because David [Metcalfe, owner] has been fantastic and said ‘look, if the ground’s not right, don’t run’. We’ve looked after her and fair play to everyone involved with her. We walked the track, I was happy, a bit more rain would’ve helped, but there’s so much she can do when she has her conditions.”

“She’s a serious horse, you know. And it’s been worth the wait.”

Mecca’s Angel was actually making her first start in a Group 1, at the age of four. She arrived with a good strike-rate at lower levels, winning five of her previous seven starts including Group 3s at Newbury and Longchamp. Her win in the Nunthorpe is likely to deliver a significant career-best, her Timeform Master Rating having been 120 pre-race.