Dods saddled Mecca’s Angel to win back-to-back renewals of the Group One dash in 2015 and 2016 and has a solid contender this time in the David Armstrong-owned Mabs Cross.
The four-year-old filly has held her own in top sprint races this term, winning the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket in May and finishing in the first four in the Temple Stakes, the King’s Stand Stakes and the Sapphire Stakes.
The Knavesmire is the next port of call, even though Dods knows his charge will have her work cut out against Battaash, who has beaten her this season already.
Dods said: “The Nunthorpe is a tough race with the likes of Battaash in, but the plan is to run Mabs Cross anyway.
“We could do with a bit of cut in the ground, hopefully, to slow Battaash up a bit! But the way he won at Goodwood he was so impressive. He’s undoubtedly a top-class sprinter.
“But Mabs Cross is on track. We’re happy with her and she’s in good form. She’ll do a bit of work on Saturday and that will probably be it.”
He added: “I’m very lucky to have her. She has run well this season. In Ireland the last time there wasn’t enough pace on for her to be honest. But she still ran well.
“Mecca’s Angel was a different type. She was speed. This filly, she sort of needs a fast pace to aim at but she hasn’t got the natural early speed that Mecca’s Angel had.
“A bit slower ground would help her because it would slow those speed horses up. But she is improving, so we’ll see where we get to.”
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