British Champions Series stars to stud: Mecca’s Angel
21 Dec 2016
In the latest of our weekly series, we look to the past, present and future for dual Nunthorpe winner Mecca's Angel
Dods and Mulrennan enjoyed great success with the rapid Mecca’s Angel. Picture: Racingfotos.com
The majority of racehorses end up being expensive luxury items who have the potential to drain the biggest of bank balances.
Every now and then, though, a bargain such as Mecca’s Angel comes along. Bought for 16,000gns at Newmarket’s Tattersalls Yearling Sale in the autumn of 2012, she signed off four years later, having won her connections £680,000.
Then, of course, there was the significant private sum paid to secure her service by breeders.
Mecca’s Angel did not have the prettiest of knees, as her trainer was first to admit, but she was blessed with exceptionally fast legs.
Her QIPCO British Champions Series victories in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes in 2015 and 2016 in the colours of owner David Metcalfe were among the highlights of each season.
On the first occasion, having been sent off at 15-2, she clawed back the the rapid American-trained two-year-old Acapulco inside the final furlong and kept on stoutly to win by two lengths.
The softish ground seemed pivotal that day but Michael Dods, her trainer, was always adamant that she was equally effective under faster conditions.
His conviction was proved correct 12 months later when Mecca’s Angel successfully defended her crown under much quicker conditions.
This time she won easier at the expense of Limato, the brilliant July Cup winner, and the margin was again two lengths.
There was the odd disappointment along the way, notably at Royal Ascot in 2016 after which she was found to be in session, but other victories in a tremendous career included the Listed Scarbrough Stakes, the Group 3 World Trophy, the Group 3 Prix de Saint-Georges and the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes.
In all, Mecca’s Angel won half of her 20 races, finishing runner-up on four other occasions.
She was ridden by Paul Mulrennan in all bar two of her races; the jockey openly weeping after her first Nunthorpe victory.
Difficult to choose between her Nunthorpe triumphs, although the official handicapper will tell you that her second victory in the race was her greatest day because he elevated her mark to 122 afterwards.
He also upgraded her after her first win in the race, though on that occasion only to 120.
Victory one was achieved the hard way; overhauling the American-trained two-year-old Acapulco in the final stages after it looked like she would not be caught.
Triumph number two was more clinical – an emphatic two-length win over Limato, the July Cup winner, with the race in safe keeping a little way out.
What they said
Before her final race, trainer Michael Dods said: “You dream about having horses like her. She’s done the whole yard a lot of good, she’s done Paul Mulrennan and myself a lot of good. She’s been tremendous, owes us nothing. She’s won two Nunthorpes, taken us all over, won races everywhere. She’s a credit to everyone that’s been involved with her.
“The void she leaves is going to be massive. We dream that we will be able to find another one like her but it will probably be impossible.”
Where she will stand?
At Coolmore Stud in Fethard, County Tipperary – the headquarters of the world’s largest breeding operation – where she will be covered by no other than super sire Galileo. She will be a mum who lacks for nothing.
What should we expect from her offspring?
Galileo, the 2001 Derby winner, has already sired more than 60 Group 1 winners and his imminent union with Mecca’s Angel promises an intoxicating mix of speed and stamina.
Galileo is not renowned for producing sprinters but he invariably stamps his stock with some stamina. Could he and Mecca’s Angel produce something that perhaps meets halfway – an outstanding miler maybe?
Mecca’s Angel is a daughter of Dark Angel and full sister to Markaz, a Group 3 winner over seven furlongs.
It will be a surprise if, down the line, she is not paired with a sire renowned for sprinting. That should result in one thing: a horse in a hurry on the racecourse.