Tuesday 23 January 2018

Rip odds-on for Champion glory

Damien McElroy

Rip Van Winkle is odds-on to confirm recent Juddmonte International superiority at York over Henry Cecil's Twice Over when they meet again at Leopardstown tomorrow as the market principals for the six-runner Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes.

It came as no surprise yesterday when champion trainer Aidan O'Brien chose Rip Van Winkle ahead of last year's runner-up Fame And Glory to join Irish Derby victor Cape Blanco and Beethoven in the classy field for the €750,000 Tattersalls promotion.

Fast ground at the Dublin track, where the going was good to firm and being watered early yesterday, looks tailor-made for Johnny Murtagh's mount, which arrived fast and late to beat Twice Over by half a length at York. Ideally suited by some give underfoot, Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe favourite Fame And Glory is expected to have his prep-run at Longchamp on Sunday week in the Prix Foy.

Seamus Heffernan will be taking over on Cape Blanco tomorrow from Colm O'Donoghue while O'Brien's teenage son Joseph is on Beethoven, which has blinkers. Undefeated in his three runs at the Foxrock venue this year, Dermot Weld's charge Famous Name, which is in the same ownership as Twice Over, goes here rather than in Longchamp's Prix du Moulin on Sunday.

Mark Johnston's Sea Lord, supplemented at a cost of €75,000 last Monday, completes the field as Godolphin's Cavalryman, fourth in the Juddmonte at York, waits for Sunday's Group One equivalent in Germany.

Godolphin's ex-Irish Long Lashes, the Johnston-trained Rainfall and Michael Stoute's Strawberrydaiquiri were the notable names among the six defectors overnight from the Matron Stakes, in which Fran Berry has been booked by Mick Channon for his Falmouth Stakes heroine Music Show.

The crowd on this occasion will include as guests of honour officials and members of the Irish Paralympic team -- headed by triple medal winner and current swimming squad coach Dave Malone -- who are preparing for the London Olympics in 2012.

Meanwhile, this evening's final fixture of the year at Kilbeggan will be marked by Taoiseach Brian Cowen launching the course's new Patrons Club, which already has 100 members dedicated to promoting the venue for sporting and community pursuits.

Former champion Barry Geraghty could be the jockey to follow at the Westmeath track as the Meath-born pilot could land the first and last legs of the Jackpot aboard Without The Bop and Serve Time. Both of these horses appear to be particularly effective on fast ground, Without The Bop having contributed over fences to Eoin Doyle's winning streak at Tramore and ex-invalid Serve Time jumping well when runner-up to Bronte Bay in Ballinrobe.

Without The Bop reverts to the smaller obstacles now off a decent mark in the Moate Handicap Hurdle and former smart hurdler Serve Time is napped to provide Alan Daly with his initial winner in the Kinnegad Beginners Chase.

Earlier in the Midland Breeders Mares Hurdle, Pat Sinnott's Benefit Of Porter may possess a slightly superior finishing kick than fellow hat-trick seeker Isabellareine.

Elsewhere, Ballinrobe have announced that they will be donating the entire admission fees to their last meeting of the season on Monday, September 20, to Concern Worldwide to aid their flood relief efforts in Pakistan.

Irish Independent

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