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Rip Van Winkle

Rip Van Winkle lands the 2009 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker/  

Rip Van Winkle retired after 'very slight setback'

THE brilliant Rip Van Winkle, winner of three Group 1s, including this year's Juddmonte International Stakes at York,has been retired due to a setback, it was announced to the Racing Post on Wednesday night.

The four-year-old, who was general third favourite for the Breeders' Cup Mile at around 7-1 and a 16-1 shot for the Classic, will stand alongside his sire Galileo at Coolmore Stud in Ireland.

O'Brien told the Racing Post: "Rip Van Winkle has had a very slight setback and, while it is very minor, it would have meant forcing him to get him to Churchill Downs. So the decision has been made to retire him."

He added: "Everyone knows how good I always thought he was. His big thing was his incredible speed. We knew he had that from the first day he worked. He did win the Juddmonte International over a mile and a quarter this year, but he was a miler first and foremost."

Twice a winner over 7f at two, Rip Van Winkle came up against Sea The Stars in three consecutive races last season, finishing fourth behind him in the 2,000 Guineas and the Investec Derby, before running him to a length in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes.

Troubled by problems with his feet last year, he went on to beat Paco Boy in the Sussex Stakes and Zacinto in the Sony-sponsored Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. He disappointed in the Breeders' Cup Classic, finishing 12th behind Zenyatta at the end of a busy season.

This year he was foiled by Canford Cliffs in the Sussex before winning the International at York in August, when he pounced late to beat Twice Over half a length.

He subsequently ran second to Cape Blanco in the Tattersalls Millions IrishChampion Stakes and, on what was to be his final start, lost out by a nose to Poet's Voice when bidding to win the QEII again.

He bagged £1,201,333 in prize-money across 14 races in three seasons for Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith.

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