Whatever way you look at it £2,500 is not a lot of cash in the money-originated world of racehorse ownership although it could turn out to be even less the way Godolphin ‘reject’ Sceptical is progressing for Tipperary trainer Denis Hogan. Well-known Irish racehorse owner James McAuley seems to have spotted something special in this son of Exceed and Excel at the Goff’s Horses in Training sale last August. Sceptical was unraced for classic winning operation Godolphin, obviously he didn’t reach their superior standards in pre-training.


“Could this well above-average thoroughbred be one that got away for Godolphin?”


The key signs are definitely there that he is an exceptionally ‘fast’ horse, with a cruising gear to go along with it, typically you don’t buy thoroughbreds this good for £2,500 but McAuley has broken that trend not for the first time either. Four-year-old Sceptical has raced four times in his career, winning on the last three occasion with ease, his debut outing was his only defeat, though finishing second when raw-as-ropes was hardly losing anything in defeat. So far Sceptical has attained prizemoney in the region of £23,389, astonishingly earning McAuley a ‘welcomed’ £20.889 in profit from his initial trivial acquisition fee at the sales.   

Trainer Denis Hogan has stated that Sceptical may well be the best horse he has ever trained. You’d have to assume with only four runs into his career Hogan won’t even have found the key to him yet, with more competing he could be anything realistically. The astonishing thing is Sceptical has never run competitively on Turf, though the vibes from the yard have been rather ‘bullish’ that he could be even better on the grass – that is some testimony given the way he has already run on the artificial surface.

17:15 Dundalk - 6 March 2020 - Racecard - Horse Racing - Sporting Life

Sceptical, made light-work of top weight to win a 5f handicap by six and a half lengths at Dundalk on his latest outing – securing favouritism for the £150,000 Betway All-Weather Sprint Championships Stakes at Lingfield on Good Friday in the process – which won’t go ahead because of the coronavirus epidemic. There will be other engagements for Sceptical although at the time of writing it has caught my attention that he is available at ante-post odds of 20/1 by most betting firms for the King Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot – that looks rather considerable by the way that contest is shaping up, bar the mighty Battash I wouldn’t fear anything in that jurisdiction.


Want to check out his rivals in the Kind Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot – Click here for the betting.


Is Sceptical capable of winning at Royal Ascot, with all things well-thought-out he hasn’t done anything wrong to say he shouldn’t be deemed a chief protagonist – In my modest opinion it is a ‘big ask’ though not one that I think can be ruled out with all normal progression which is almost expected.

Sceptical will win a ‘big’ race this summer I am certain of that, whether it being at Royal Ascot, or not is anybody’s guess at this stage even though I have invested a few quid each-way on a fairy-tale story for Sceptical, and his owner James at the current betting odds 20/1, that may perhaps not be that far-fetched come June.