Rip leads Champion six

RIP Van Winkle heads Aidan O’Brien’s three-strong team as the Ballydoyle trainer seeks a sixth success in the Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday.

Stable jockey Johnny Murtagh takes the ride on last month’s Juddmonte International Stakes winner, who faces five rivals in the mile-and-a-quarter feature.

Seamus Heffernan will partner Irish Derby hero Cape Blanco while O’Brien’s son Joseph will be aboard Beethoven.

The trainer withdrew his other entries Fame And Glory and Black Quartz at the final declaration stage.

Owner Prince Khalid Abdullah will be double-handed with Dermot Weld’s Famous Name and Twice Over.

The last-named, trained by Henry Cecil, was runner-up to Rip Van Winkle at York having previously landed the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.

Completing the sextet is Mark Johnston’s Sea Lord, who was supplemented for €75,000 at Monday’s confirmation stage.

The Godolphin-owned Cavalryman, who has an alternative date in Germany, and the Clive Cox-trained Poet, were the other absentees.

Rip Van Winkle is Coral's 4-6 favourite with Twice Over 3-1 second best and Cape Blanco at 6-1.

“It’s great that the first two home at York are taking each other on again, but we reckon the best horse won that day and favour Rip Van Winkle to confirm that on Saturday,” said Coral’s David Stevens.

Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes, Coral bet: 4-6 Rip Van Winkle, 3-1 Twice Over, 6-1 Cape Blanco, 14-1 Sea Lord, 16-1 Famous Name, 33-1 Beethoven.

British raiders Music Show, Spacious and Jacqueline Quest feature among seven runners in Saturday’s Coolmore Fusaichi Pegasus Matron Stakes at Leopardstown.

Mick Channon’s Music Show arrives in great form having won the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket before finishing second to Goldikova in the Prix Rothschild.

The James Fanshawe-trained Spacious was second to Music Show in the Falmouth and is still seeking an elusive first Group One triumph, while Henry Cecil’s Jacqueline Quest needs to bounce back after disappointing in a Goodwood Group Three.

The pick of the home quartet is undoubtedly Dermot Weld’s Bethrah, who is making her first racecourse appearance since winning the Irish 1000 Guineas in May.

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