Frankie Dettori out to show he loves a bargain in Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot

Frankie Dettori out to show he loves a bargain in Diamond Jubilee Stakes on Super Saturday at Royal Ascot

  • A bargain gelding is in the running for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on Saturday
  • Trainer Denis Hogan has booked Frankie Dettori for Sceptical at Royal Ascot
  • Victory for Sceptical would add colour to a fixture dominated by the mega-rich

Royal Ascot’s Super Saturday card boasts eight races, two at Group One level, and some of the best horses in training but the limelight could be stolen by a bargain basement gelding who cost just £2,800.

Irish trainer Denis Hogan has booked Frankie Dettori for Sceptical, 11-4 favourite for the £250,000 Diamond Jubilee Stakes, after he laid claim to be the fastest sprinter in Ireland with a three-length romp in the Listed Woodlands Stakes at Naas last week.

Victory for Sceptical in one of the most prestigious races of the five-day meeting, against a line-up including 2017 winner The Tin Man running in the race for a fifth time, would add a splash of colour to a fixture increasingly dominated by the mega-rich operations.

Denis Hogan has booked Frankie Dettori for Sceptical, 11-4 for Diamond Jubilee Stakes

Sceptical’s Naas win was an eye-catching performance from a cast-off from the empire of Sheik Mohammed’s Godolphin operation. The four-year-old cost peanuts in bloodstock sales terms when picked up by co-owner and Hogan employee James McAuley and his brother Stephen at Doncaster sales last August.

Hogan and McAuley opted to sidestep Battaash in Tuesday’s King’s Stand Stakes mainly to give Sceptical more time to get over his Naas exertions.

The County Tipperary-based trainer said: ‘He was very impressive at Naas but we do have to step up again. I think we made the right decision.

‘There will be lots of other opportunities to take on Battaash. We are light on experience and I think he will learn from his first race in this type of company. It was not much the longer distance of the race — six furlongs rather than five — but the choice of race was more about giving him a little bit of extra time after Naas.

‘It’s only five days extra but five days can be the difference between getting over a race and not getting over it.’

McAuley has made the trip from Ireland and Sceptical has been stabled with three-time Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning trainer Henrietta Knight since Thursday. Hogan said: ‘James and his brother Stephen picked him out. They were keen on him from the first time they saw him in the sale. They loved his stallion and he is a model, a big powerhouse of a horse. He was just beaten on his first run (at Dundalk in October) and we gave him a breathing operation after that. It worked and he has won his four races since.’

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