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Turpin likely to test Rip resolve

This year's summer festivals are beginning to draw to a close but York's Ebor meeting is certainly one to savour -- and it gets under way tomorrow with the Group One Juddmonte International as the opening day's feature.

Aidan O'Brien's Rip Van Winkle is likely to be sent off favourite as he bids to bounce back to winnings ways.

Johnny Murtagh is onboard the four-year-old, who was unlucky to have been born in the same year as Sea The Stars and then to come up against some little niggly problems.

Tomorrow's assignment is probably his best chance to put things right and prove his class -- but it is by no means going to be straightforward.

In opposition to Rip Van Winkle, who connections firmly believed could beat Sea The Stars at stages last year, he faces eight rivals including Dick Turpin, who is selected to deal Ballydoyle a further upset.

Rip Van Winkle ran a cracker at Goodwood behind Canford Cliffs, but he could again be forced to see a Richard Hughes-ridden and Richard Hannon-trained colt pass him by.

Dick Turpin has probably been a shade unlucky in his own right as his stable companion Canford Cliffs has stole most of this year's limelight, but on this occasion the French Group One winner can add another from the top level to his CV in what was a very surprising choice by the Hannons to supplement him for this contest.

The likes of Byword and Twice Over make this a fascinating, race while the main defector yesterday was Irish Derby winner Cape Blanco, but this could be a thriller with any one of the four market leaders landing the pot.

However, Dick Turpin has snuck in under the radar a bit and, onboard in Richard Hughes, punters are assured of a cool ride from a jockey riding on the top of his game at the moment.

Hughes partners the unexposed Momkinzain for Mick Channon in the Great Voltigeur but he looks to be thrown into the deep end and it is worth sticking with the Ballydoyle crew for this one.

Midas Touch represents the Irish here and is joined by season debutant and stable-mate Joshua Tree, who has been off for almost a year.

Joshua Tree is an interesting inclusion, with Jamie Spencer a notable booking, but expect him to come on for the run and be winning next time out. On this occasion, side with Midas Touch, the horse named after his trainer's seeming ability.

Winner of the Derby trial at Leopardstown, he was fifth behind Workforce in the Derby at Epsom and then half a length down in the Irish equivalent behind Cape Blanco.

He was unlucky that day and Murtagh resumes responsibility from Colm O'Donoghue on a day he looks difficult to oppose.

Elsewhere on the card, there is the Group Three Acomb Stakes for juveniles and it may be worth siding with O'Brien and Murtagh once more.

Lake Ontario is sent to battle here following a Naas maiden win over seven-furlongs which came as a bit of a surprise according to his 4/1 price tag, and he may just be progressive enough to catch his British counterparts on the hop.

The colt will have a lot to do to see off The Long Game, who is a winner from three starts and was only four-and-a-quarter lengths off Libranno last time but he may just be a tad vulnerable.

Sticking with the juveniles and in the nursery it could be worth sticking with the ever-reliable Richard Hughes and the course and distance winner Jaahiz, who is again trained by Richard Hannon.


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