Michael Dods tempted to try Mecca’s Angel at six furlongs

Trainer Michael Dods could be tempted to allow Mecca’s Angel bid for top honours over six furlongs before she retires to the paddocks.
Michael Dods tempted to try Mecca’s Angel at six furlongs

The five-year-old, winner of the Nunthorpe Stakes over the minimum trip last summer, is among the entries for the Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot on October 15.

Her first objective is to defend her York crown on August 19 after which she might be aimed at the Ascot sprint.

“If everything is right on the day we’d be keen to have a crack at it,” said Dods said.

“This will be her last season before she goes off to stud and we felt she deserved the chance to go for six and this race fits the bill.

“It will be interesting, I think she will stay. It’s been difficult to give her a run over the six because of the targets she’s already got over five.

“We considered the July Cup this year but I just felt the Newmarket track would not really suit her as well as somewhere like Ascot.

“A lot of people tried to get us to supplement for the Champions Sprint last year. We thought long and hard about it, but decided we wouldn’t because we were going to go for the Abbaye. Then that didn’t work out because of the ground.”

Entries for the race include the first five home in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

The quintet - Twilight Son, Gold-Fun, Signs Of Blessing, Magical Memory and Suedois - were separated by little more than half a length that day.

Among other classy speedsters entered are July Cup hero Limato, Commonwealth Cup scorer Quiet Reflection, The Tin Man, Lumiere, Shalaa, Dutch Connection, Sole Power, Dancing Star and Tom Hogan’s veteran Gordon Lord Byron, who won the race in 2014.

The 54 entries for the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes feature the three home in 2015 - Simple Verse, Journey and Beautiful Romance.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien is responsible for 11, headed by dual Classic winner Minding, Irish Oaks scorer Seventh Heaven, Ribblesdale victor Even Song and Found, winner of last season’s Breeders’ Cup Turf.

One horse who has the race at the top of her agenda is the Charlie Appleby-trained Endless Time, who made a successful seasonal debut in Lancashire Oaks at Haydock last month.

“She’s a lovely, big filly who is getting better with age,” said Appleby.

“Her main aim all season has been the Fillies & Mares at Ascot on Champions Day and we feel she has got all the attributes you need for the race.

“We will look at the Darley Yorkshire Oaks and the Prix Vermeille along the way, but Ascot is the target and we are relaxed to be sitting on the sidelines. She won’t have more than one more run beforehand.”

The O’Brien-trained Order Of St George, convincing winner of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, stands out among 63 entries for the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup.

O’Brien’s other 11 possibles include Idaho, placed in the English and Irish Derbies and Bondi Beach, runner up in last year’s St Leger.

Other Irish possibles include Dermot Weld’s 2014 winner Forgotten Rules, and the Willie Mullins-trained Max Dynamite, runner-up in last year’s Emirates Melbourne Cup.

There is also plenty of depth to the home team, with Mizzou, runner-up in the Gold Cup, Big Orange, the dual Qatar Goodwood Cup winner, and Simple Verse, the Ladbrokes St Leger winner, all entered.

Clever Cookie, runner-up 12 months ago, is likely to try to go one better.

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