Rip Van Winkle gave Aidan O’Brien a third victory in the Juddmonte International (2000m) when he overhauled Juddmonte gallopers Twice Over and Byword at York on Tuesday.
O’Brien had previously won the race with Giant’s Causeway (2000) and Duke of Marmalade (2008) while Ballydoyle colt Mastercraftsman was runner-up to Sea The Stars last year.
Juddmonte Farms owner Khalid Abdullah was within reach of seizing a quinella in his signature race when Byword (Peintre Celebre) and Twice Over (Observatory) skipped clear inside the last furlong.
Byword was coming off a G1 victory in the Prince of Wales at Royal Ascot and Twice Over was a last start winner of the G1 Coral Eclipse. But they had no answer when Johnny Murtagh unleashed Rip Van Winkle for a half-length victory.
Rip Van Winkle (Galileo) was coming off a loss to Canford Cliffs over 1600m at Goodwood and he appreciated the extra 400m at York. “He had a very tough season last year and didn’t develop a personality until this year,” O’Brien said. “He was tired at the 2009 Breeders’ Cup and I’d love to take him as a fresh horse this year.”
Rip Van Winkle was purchased for €170,000 at the 2007 Italian yearling sales by John O’Byrne. He is by Coolmore champion Galileo from Italian stakes performer Looking Back (Stravinsky).
Bookmakers trimmed Rip Van Winkle into 10-1 for the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in November.