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By Tom Peacock, Press Association Sport. Last Updated: 17/08/10 5:31pm
Rip Van Winkle (left) comes out on top in a thriller.
Rip Van Winkle gatecrashed the sponsor's party as he stole the Juddmonte International at York from under the noses of Twice Over and Byword.
Prince Khalid Abdullah has long coveted a race his breeding operation has been associated with for more than 20 years, but the wait must go on as neither of his flagbearers could last the full length of the unforgiving Knavesmire straight and were overwhelmed by Aidan O'Brien's raider with 100 yards remaining.
It was 7-4 favourite Rip Van Winkle's first success at 10 furlongs after a career spent largely in Group One company over a mile, and O'Brien has deliberately preserved him for the second part of this campaign with a return to the Breeders' Cup at the forefront of his mind.
After a stop-start pace along the back straight, both the Prince's runners surged to the front and battle commenced from some way out.
Andre Fabre's Byword got the upper hand on the Henry Cecil-trained Twice Over when the pair flashed past in first and second in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot and the latter's jockey Tom Queally was hell-bent on not allowing that to happen again.
But a duel lasting nearly two furlongs seemed to take its toll as Rip Van Winkle and a patient Johnny Murtagh timed their challenge to perfection up the stands rail and just over a length covered the trio at the post with a further four back to Cavalryman in fourth.
"You have to say Johnny was marvellous today," said O'Brien.
"He just let him take his time to come into the race and let things happen.
"They went slow but we didn't mind as at home, he can pick up anything. It takes him a stride to get into top gear but he won well on the line.
"We wouldn't mind stepping back to a mile again now and we could look at the QEII at Ascot. There's the Irish Champion Stakes, but we have the other horse for that (Fame And Glory)."
O'Brien expanded on the altered plan this season which had seen Rip Van Winkle have his first outing since last November's Breeders' Cup in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot, before he chased home Canford Cliffs at Glorious Goodwood.
He added: "Last year the Breeders' Cup was a wash-out because he was tired coming into the race.
"We have changed things a bit. He had a hard time last year and he hasn't developed a personality until this season.
"We have geared him for the second part of the season and you would love to go back to America again fresh, either for the Mile or the Classic."
Murtagh said: "I love this horse. I rode him in the Derby and Guineas - he didn't show his true self there but he showed when he won his two Group Ones last year what a champion he was.
"He was second over this trip to Sea The Stars in the Eclipse, which is great form.
"Aidan had a plan this year with him that he was going to take it slow, there's a lot of big races coming up for him at the end of the year and we want to have him fresh and well.
"I think he'll improve again from today, he was still a bit rusty.
"Sometimes when they kick he can't go with them but when he gets into top gear he comes home really well. In the last 100 yards I thought I'd get there."
Twice Over enjoyed his day in the sun in this year's Eclipse but this time had to settle for second, half a length adrift.
"He ran a great race, he was just beaten by a very good horse - no excuses, it's the best race he has ever run," admitted Cecil.
"It was a top-class race, the other horse just caught us in the end.
"We'll see how he is and look at the Champion Stakes and there's the Breeders' Cup and the Dubai World Cup."
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Abdullah, said of his pair: "They have both run good races.
"We'll have a bit of a rethink, but they will probably have relatively separate programmes from now on.
"We'll have to have a think about Byword. I don't see why he wouldn't get a bit further, but we'll take our time and see what happens."
Frankie Dettori reported of Cavalryman: "It was a good solid performance. He got a bit outpaced and we will probably step him up to a mile and a half."
Cavalryman's trainer Saeed Bin Suroor said their other runner, seventh-placed Cutlass Bay, "needs soft ground" while the supplemented Dick Turpin performed respectably, if not outstandingly, in fifth.