Mecca’s Angel and Paul Mulrennan win the Sapphire Stakes
PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
By Tom Kerr 4:07PM 16 JUL 2016
Report: Curragh, Saturday
Kilfrush Stud Sapphire Stakes (Group 2) 5f, 3yo+
MECCA’S ANGEL, the 5-4 favourite, motored to victory with a dominant performance over Brando in the Sapphire Stakes.
The Michael Dods-trained five-year-old was prominent under Paul Mulrennan, tracking the lead set by Gracious John, and went readily clear when asked for an effort.
She had a three length advantage over Brando at the line, with Gracious John in third and old favourite Sole Power back in fourth.
It marked an emphatic return to form for the Group 1 winner, whose finest hour came in winning last season’s Nunthorpe, after she flopped in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, beating just one home.
She was cut for a repeat victory in the Nunthorpe, with Sky Bet going 5-1 (from 8) and Paddy Power 7-2 (from 7).
“There were two things about Ascot: she was in season and didn’t show in season until she was in the stalls, and also the ground. I know you lot think she wants it bottomless, but that’s her ground there,” said Dod, referring to the good to yielding going on the straight.
“When I looked at the ground I thought it was beautiful ground, just the easy side of good which is what it was in the Abbaye and the Nunthorpe. I told Paul to ride her like he did at Longchamp and she came home strong to the line.
“It was a relief because after Ascot we thought we knew what was wrong, but until you put them back on the racecourse you can never be sure. Ground permitting, we will go to York [for the Nunthorpe], just as long as firm isn’t in the ground description. Everyone’s worked hard to get her back and we’re just delighted.”
Earlier in the afternoon the James Fanshawe-trained The Tin Man, another well-regarded sprinter who failed to fire at Royal Ascot, took a cosy win in the Hackwood Stakes at Newbury, beating Divine by a head after coasting home in front under Tom Queally. He could go for the Nunthorpe as well, for which he ranges in price from 8-1 to 14-1.