08/17/2010 10:42AM

Rip Van Winkle gets up in Juddmonte International

Edward Whitaker/Racing Post
Rip Van Winkle, with Johnny Murtagh aboard, takes the Juddmonte International.

Rip Van Winkle woke up just in time to catch the Juddmonte pair of Twice Over and Byword in the shadow of the line to land a thrilling renewal of the $1 million Juddmonte International Stakes at York on Tuesday. In winning for the first time in nearly 11 months, the Aidan O’Brien-trained son of Galileo proved he could win beyond a mile as defeated two of the best 10-furlong horses in training.

Johnny Murtagh kept the 7-4 favorite Rip Van Winkle toward the rear of the nine-runner field as Stimulation set a modest pace with the 11-4 Byword chasing in second and the 6-1 Twice Over immediately behind him in fourth. The Andre Fabre-trained Byword was the first to move as Maxime Guyon powered him to the front at the five-sixteenths pole, with Twice Over hot on his heels.

Twice Over, the Henry Cecil-trained winner of the Eclipse Stakes, took over from his Prince of Wales’s Stakes conqueror at the three-sixteenths pole and looked like the winner until Rip Van Winkle caught him barely 20 yards from the line to prevail by a half-length, with Twice Over three-quarters of a length in front of Byword. It was another four lengths back to Godolphin’s Cavalryman, but Dick Turpin failed to stay the 1 1/4 miles and 88 yards, finishing fifth, beaten 7 3/4 lengths. The winning time on good ground was 2:08.58.

Rip Van Winkle had won two of Europe’s best weight-for-age miles last year in the Sussex Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes but came a cropper when only 10th in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. A distant sixth behind Goldikova in his return in the one-mile Queen Anne Stakes, he improved greatly when caught near the line by Canford Cliffs in this year’s Sussex Stakes. He now has an array of 10-furlong and one-mile races from which to choose.

Meanwhile, Cecil said that Twice Over would be aimed at a defense of his 1 1/4-mile Champion Stakes title at Newmarket on Oct. 16, with the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Dubai World Cup also under consideration.

* The 3-2 favorite Rewilding proved far too strong for his nine rivals in the $219,000 Great Voltigeur Stakes as he sailed clear under Frankie Dettori to win the 1 1/2-mile Group 2 by four handy lengths. A distant third behind Workforce in the Epsom Derby in his last outing June 5, Godolphin’s Mahmoud Al Zarooni-trained Tiger Hill colt cruised past the O’Brien-trained Irish Derby runner-up Midas Touch like he was something special.

A half-brother to three-time Group 1 winner Dar Re Mi as well as to Hong Kong Group 1 winner River Dancer and French Group 2 winner Darazari, Rewilding was immediately installed as the 2-1 favorite for the classic St. Leger Stakes at Doncaster, where the 1 3/4 miles and 132 yards should be right up his alley.