Juddemonte No Snooze for Rip Van Winkle

Race favourite Rip Van Winkle has had his first victory in a ten furlong event, winning the Group One Juddmonte International at York by half a length over second placed Twice Over, with Byword back a further three quarters of a length in third place.

Aidan O'Brien

Aidan O'Brien

The Aidan O'Brien charge pulled the rug out from under the Prince Khalid Abdullah owned Twice Over and Byword, neither of which could stay the whole measure of the straight and they were overtaken by the race favourite with 100 yards to go.

"You have to say Johnny was marvellous today," said O'Brien.

"He just let him take his time to come into the race and let things happen.

"They went slow but we didn't mind as at home, he can pick up anything. It takes him a stride to get into top gear but he won well on the line.

"We wouldn't mind stepping back to a mile again now and we could look at the QEII at Ascot. There's the Irish Champion Stakes, but we have the other horse for that."

"Last year the Breeders' Cup was a wash-out because he was tired coming into the race.

"We have changed things a bit. He had a hard time last year and he hasn't developed a personality until this season.

"We have geared him for the second part of the season and you would love to go back to America again fresh, either for the Mile or the Classic."

Murtagh said, "I love this horse. I rode him in the Derby and Guineas; he didn't show his true self there but he showed when he won his two Group Ones last year what a champion he was.

"He was second over this trip to Sea The Stars in the Eclipse, which is great form.

"Aidan had a plan this year with him that he was going to take it slow, there's a lot of big races coming up for him at the end of the year and we want to have him fresh and well.

"I think he'll improve again from today, he was still a bit rusty.

"Sometimes when they kick he can't go with them but when he gets into top gear he comes home really well. In the last 100 yards I thought I'd get there."

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