Ebor Festival: Is it a bird? No she’s a plane ... says delighted Mulrennan

Mecca's Angel ridden by Paul Mulrennan wins the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes during day three of the Ebor Festival at York. Picture: Anna Gowthorpe/PA.
Mecca's Angel ridden by Paul Mulrennan wins the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes during day three of the Ebor Festival at York. Picture: Anna Gowthorpe/PA.
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NORTH Yorkshire jockey Paul Mulrennan likened sprinting superstar Mecca’s Angel to an “aeroplane” after the filly produced a blistering performance to land back-to-back runnings of the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York.

“She’s given me my first two Group One winners,” eulogised the Boroughbridge rider after the forecast rain came just in time for the Michael Dods-trained three-year-old. “She’s a very special filly, she’s an aeroplane on her day – she’s the best and that’s probably her best performance. 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!”

Jockey Paul Mulrennan holds the trophy with his daughter Scarlett and wife Adele after riding Mecca's Angel to victory in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at the Ebor Festival at York. Picture: Anna Gowthorpe/PA

Jockey Paul Mulrennan holds the trophy with his daughter Scarlett and wife Adele after riding Mecca's Angel to victory in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at the Ebor Festival at York. Picture: Anna Gowthorpe/PA

Darlington-based Dods had endured several sleepness nights deciding whether to run his stable star in this five furlong sprint – conditions were soft 12 months ago – but he took the plunge after rain just took the edge off the Knavesmire’s lightning quick ground.

His gamble paid off, Mecca’s Angel picking up best of all to prevail from Henry Candy’s July Cup winner Limato and Take Cover who ran a blinder for Bawtry trainer David Griffiths and his wife Sophie.

The winner’s 10th win from 18 start, it took the career earnings of Mecca’s Angel past the £650,000 mark – an amount that will only increase in value when the filly is retired at the end of the season to begin a lucrative stud career.

This success saw Mecca’s Angel become the first horse to win successive Nunthorpes since the now retired Borderlescott prevailed in 2008 and 2009 for Wetherby trainer Robin Bastiman.

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.

“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.”