Rip Van Winkle Reawakens

After a deliberately low-key start to a season timed to peak for late summer and fall, Rip Van Winkle returned to his best to win a very strong renewal of the Juddmonte International (gr. I) over the title sponsor’s duo of Twice Over and Byword. Off the board behind Goldikova on his seasonal debut in the Queen Anne Stakes (gr. I), Rip Van Winkle stepped up on that form to run a good second to Canford Cliffs in the Sussex Stakes (gr. I) over a mile, a trip that is almost certainly short of his ideal. There were seven group/grade I winners in the nine-horse field, and the form lines suggest that the first three home in this contest, along with Goldikova, Paco Boy, and three-year-olds Canford Cliffs, Makfi, Dick Turpin (a non-staying fourth here) and Lope De Vega, comprise a closely match and very talented group of eight to ten furlongs horses (not, of course to overlook the 1½ mile performers such as Workforce and Harbinger).

Rip Van Winkle (TrueNicks A++) is another credit for his sire, Galileo, who has done much better than the general run of Sadler’s Wells horses when crossed over Nureyev line mares (Rip Van Winkle, whose dam is by Stravinsky, is one of four stakes winners for the sire out of mares from the Nureyev line). The dam was stakes-placed, but apart from her Italian listed winner Le Vie Infinite (by the Efisio horse Le Vie Dei Colori), Rip Van Winkle is the only stakes winner in the first four generations of the pedigree. The fourth dam, House Tie, was a very good producer, and is out of Champion Irish Two-Year-Old Filly Mesopotamia. Galileo had a second group winner for the week when Lily of the Valley (TrueNicks A++) annexed the Prix de la Nonette (gr. III). She is one of two group winners from three starters by Galileo out of mares by Pennekamp (by Bering), and the second dam is by that excellent Sadler’s Wells line foil Last Tycoon.

Having mentioned the top 12 furlong males, Workforce and Harbinger, we shouldn’t neglect the distaff runners in that category, the leadership of which might now reside with four-year-old Midday, who produced a stellar performance in the Yorkshire Oaks (gr. I) to win by three lengths from the English and Irish Oaks (gr. I) heroine Snow Fairy. Incidentally, Midday’s old rival, Sariska, declined to leave the stalls. Midday is by Oasis Dream – the sprinting son of Green Desert, who seems to be able to throw good winners over all sorts of distances (and who also had a very good week with his two-year-olds). The dam, Midsummer, is by Kingmambo (TrueNicks,SRO), and this is a cross – Oasis Dream/Mr. Prospector – that doesn’t have a high strike-rate, but has already come up with two group one winners. The third dam is the Juddmonte foundation mare, Mofida, who didn’t have a fancy pedigree, but was very tough winning six of 40 races over three seasons. Mofida produced only four winners, and one black type winner (Zaizafon, a daughter of The Minstrel, later dam of Zamindar and Zafonic), but she’s ancestress of a string of high-quality winners, among them Epsom Oaks (gr. I) heroine Reams of Verse, Elmaamul, and this year’s group I-winning sprinter Regal Parade (dam by Kingmambo, so bred rather like the dam of Midday). We can also mention that group two winner Showcasing - another of the four stakes winners by Oasis Dream out of a Mr. Prospector line mare – is out of a mare by Zafonic, a Mr. Prospector line horse from the same female line as Midday.

Stacelita (TrueNicks A) who was runner-up to Midday in the Nassau Stakes (gr. I) at Goodwood, returned to the winners enclosure in the Prix Jean Romanet (gr. I). She is by the great German sire Monsun, out of Soignee, a daughter of the Shirley Heights grandson Dashing Blade. She goes back to the great German tap-root mare Schonbrunn via a half sister to Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. I) victor Steinlen. The German strains in the tail female clearly do well with background of Monsun, as the granddam, Suivez, bred a group winner and a stakes winner by Monsun, is granddam of another stakes winner by the same horse, and is also dam of a black type scorer by Monsun’s broodmare sire, Surumu. On the same day, Pedigree Consultants recommended mating Americain (TrueNicks A++) may well of earned himself a tilt at the Melbourne Cup (gr. I) with a win in the Prix Kergorlay (gr. II).

At the the other end of the distance scale, Sole Power, a three-year-old son of Kyllachy (by Pivotal), caused a 100-1 upset when defeating apparent superstar sprinter Starspangledbanner – who probably didn’t appreciate the drop back to five furlongs after two very impressive six furlongs scores, and who was done no favors by the draw – in the Nunthorpe Stakes (gr. I). The winner is out of Demerger, who is by Distant View, out of Merida, by Warning. The granddam is a half sister to U.S. grade II winner Tychonic, and Fine Edge, a quick son of Sharpen Up, who did very well at stud in South Africa.

If it was long odds about Sole Power, we wonder what price one could have got on a 24-year-old mare going on to produce a group winner and classic performer? Perhaps not so long when the mare is the Prix Vermeille (gr. I) victress, Darara. She’d already had four stakes winners to her name: Dar Re Mi, a group/grade I winner in England, Ireland and the UAE; Hong Kong Champion Diaghilev; Darazari, a group winner in France, a a group I winner Australia; and Dariyoun, a Champion in Spain. Her current three-year-old, Rewilding (by the Danehill horse, Tiger Hill), finished third in the Epsom Derby (gr. I), and on his return to action, stamped himself as a leading prospect for the St. Leger (gr. I) with a convincing win in the Great Voltigeur Stakes (gr. II).

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