Tom Queally believes the bookmakers have underestimated the prospects of Twice Over turning the tables on Rip Van Winkle at Leopardstown today.
The layers make the Aidan O’Brien-trained Rip Van Winkle odds-on to confirm York form with Henry Cecil’s charge in the Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes.
The Ballydoyle runner got up in the dying strides to deny Twice Over by half a length in the Juddmonte International Stakes on the Knavesmire.
“I don’t think the bookmakers have got it right, as regards Twice Over and Rip Van Winkle’s odds,” said Queally.
“At the time of writing, Rips’ odds were 4-6 and Twice Over’s were 7-2 which I can’t quite work out.
“When the two met in the Juddmonte International at York last month, Twice Over looked the winner everywhere but a matter of yards from the line.
“We had him in trouble and all credit to Rip Van Winkle in the way that he managed to wear us down.
“The original plan was to go straight to the Champion Stakes at Newmarket in October, but Twice Over came out of the race at York so well.
“He really pleased us with his work on Racecourse Side a week ago so we thought it would be a waste not to run him again while he’s in such rude health.
“A drop of rain might help, as will the shorter straight and distance. He is also so straightforward to ride and I think we go there with a big shout,” Queally told his www.racinguk.com blog.
Twice Over’s owner Prince Khalid Abdullah also has the Dermot Weld-trained Famous Name in the line-up, though connections will check on the ground first.
“We will have a look at the course and if Dermot thinks it is too firm then he won’t run,” said the owner’s racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe.
“There is supposed to be a little rain about but there is not much forecast. What he will need is good ground.”
Despite Queally’s confidence, Rip Van Winkle’s jockey Johnny Murtagh is just as bullish.
“It’s another good race and Twice Over is a very good horse,” said Murtagh.
“He has to travel over this time though, we’re on our home turf and hopefully there is a bit of improvement in ’Rip’.
“Everyone knows how much we thought of him last year as a three-year-year-old and he ran some good races and won two Group Ones.
“He’s come back to win another big race in the International at York, which is a huge race on the Knavesmire.
“It’s another big assignment this weekend and another Group One. He probably has to improve from York, but we think he has and he should be very tough to beat.
“He won round Leopardstown as a two-year-old and he loved it, so you have to be confident.”
Seamie Heffernan gets the leg up on Rip Van Winkle’s stablemate Cape Blanco in a race for the first time since steering him to victory on his racecourse debut at Fairyhouse in June 2009.
“It’s great to have a ride in the race and hopefully he can run up to his mark or above it even,” said Heffernan.
“He’s a lovely colt and I’m looking forward to riding him.
“I rode him once and I’ve won on him, a conditions race at Fairyhouse. He’s always shown us plenty at home.
“I haven’t been riding him work but I’m told he’s going well, so with a bit of luck he’ll go very well tomorrow.”
Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes, Ladbrokes bet: 4-5 Rip Van Winkle, 3-1 Twice Over, 5-1 Cape Blanco, 12-1 Sea Lord, 20-1 Famous Name, 33-1 Beethoven.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved