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Rip Van Winkle in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
and Shakespearean in the Goffs Million Mile
(Footage : YouTube)
RIP VAN WINKLE
QUEEN ELIZABETH II STAKES
One of the world’s more prestigious Group One miles is traditionally run at Ascot on the last weekend of September in the form of the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, and this past weekend the Galileo colt, Rip Van Winkle added to the lustre of the race as he recorded his second consecutive Gr.1 in solid, if not entirely commanding, style.
Alighting from his mount in the aftermath, jockey Johnny Murtagh remained steadfast in his belief “I’m not going to take back what I said before – he’s one of the best I’ve ridden”. Yet, if you listen to his champion trainer Aidan O’Brien, you’d have to think there’s improvement in the horse, given his interrupted preparation “He got a very bad infection in all four of his heels in the spring, and it went down to his feet. Our vets have done a marvellous job in keeping him right, but he’s had another interrupted preparation since the Sussex (which he won a few weeks back), though he’s had a good run at it for the last few weeks”.
“He’s an unbelievable horse, and Johnny gave him a great ride. We didn’t put a pacemaker in, as we’d have to have a Gr.1 sprinter to lead him, and we didn’t have one of those”. A Gr.1 sprinter as a pacemaker says it all, and it tells us about the class of his great sire, Galileo, assuredly the best active stallion in Europe right now. There’s not much class in Rip Van Winkle’s female family, so we have to assume that most of what you see, is what you get from Galileo.
We don’t want to overdo this, but it’s a unique fact that as far as the southern hemisphere is concerned, Galileo has nothing more to come. Other, of course, than two superbly bred fillies in the Summerhill draft for this year’s Emperors Palace Ready To Run sale.
While on this subject, Europe’s leading freshman sire for 2009, Shamardal, is another with a filly in the sale. On Saturday he pretty much sewed up the first crop sire’s title when his son, Shakespearean (already a Gr.2 winner,) ran off with the €1,6 million Goffs Million Mile, putting Shamardal in an unassailable position, with scarcely two months to go to the end of the season.