O’Brien Confident On Rip Van Winkle’s York Chances

Aidan O'Brien is anticipating a good performance from Rip Van Winkle in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York on Tuesday.

Aidan O'Brien

Aidan O'Brien

The Sussex Stakes victor of last year didn't quite succeed in his attempt to make it consecutive wins in the one-mile feature event at Glorious Goodwood, when Canford Cliffs defeated him by a quarter of a length last month.

That event was just his second outing of the season after his June return at Royal Ascot in the Queen Anne, run over a mile as well.

Tuesday's event is over ten furlongs, the same distance he gave a great performance over, when coming in second place to Sea The Stars in the Eclipse last year.

"We were delighted with him in the Sussex. Obviously he started off at Ascot where he just got tired in the last half a furlong," said O'Brien.

"We were happy with that and we're looking forward to him having a second run. We thought he'd progress after his first run and we expect him to progress again.

"Everything has been good with him this year. We started him later this year but he went very well over the winter and so far everything has been good.

"The horse has always shown loads of speed, as he did again at Goodwood, but we felt as the year went on he would progress.

"He won't mind dropping back to a mile if he ever needs to, but he's a big cruiser and quickens very well.

"The only time he ran over a mile and a quarter last year was in the Eclipse where he ran very well. He's very versatile.

"We thought he'd progressed after Ascot and we think he's progressed since Goodwood, we are looking forward to seeing him run."

Richard Hannon charge Dick Turpin has been supplemented to the event, with owner John Manley handing over £50,000 and jockey Richard Hughes is confident the star miler can run the distance.

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"I can't wait to ride him. It will be interesting to see how he gets on over a mile and quarter," said Hughes.

"He wants a bit of cut in the ground ideally but maybe that could stretch his stamina further.

"The Guineas form looks really strong now. They were trying to say the three year olds were no good because Hannon had two of the best of them.

"He's a big, tough horse. If he stays he's got loads of options.

"I can't see any reason why he won't stay. I know his pedigree says that he won't, but they can be wrong sometimes."

Tom Queally is thrilled to be aboard Henry Cecil's Eclipse victor Twice Over.

"I can't wait to get on Twice Over in the Juddmonte International on Tuesday," he told his Racing UK blog.

"As I said before, his work has been very impressive and he's in just as good form as he was before Sandown - if not better.

"It's a tough race as you'd expect for the big prize on offer and Rip Van Winkle looks the main danger and I think this is his trip.

"We are closely matched with Byword on Royal Ascot form and Dick Turpin merits respect, but he has to prove he can stay the extra quarter-mile."

Cecil stated, "I think he's a better horse this year and that's a lot to do with his feet - he now has stick-on shoes.

"I'd love to go for the Champion Stakes and I'd love to have another go at the Dubai World Cup with him, but that's up to the powers that be."

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