ARTICLE BY DARREN O’CONGHAILE
Irish Racehorse owner James McAuley is rather ‘bullish’ that Sceptical has what it takes to take his team to the next level.
The pro-active owner purchased Sceptical for an insignificant asking price £2,800 last august. This ultra-fast-moving four-year-old boasts a fine pedigree as a son of Exceed And Excel out of 2009 Queen Mary winner Jealous Again. Sceptical was initially owned by formidable racehorse owners Godolphin but he never made it out of their pre-training yard.
So far, from four career starts Sceptical has won three of them and his trainer Denis Hogan has said that he may well be the best horse he has ever trained; that is a massive speech given he has not even run him on the turf as of yet.
McAuley added to the conversation; “Denis (Hogan) and the lads in the yard are firmly of the opinion that he will be better on grass, the only reason he only ran on the all-weather is because we only bought him at the end of August so to be fair to him, he has come a very long way from a horse that never left Godolphin’s pre-training yard to having won three of his first four races for us”.
“I saw Sceptical on Tuesday for the first time since lockdown and I couldn’t believe how he has developed physically”.
Is Sceptical headed to Royal Ascot this year to take on‘Battaash’ in the Kings Stand?
McAuley responded. “His trip to Ascot will depend on how he gets on at Naas in the Woodlands Stakes (June 8th) – On the Battaash note, he looks a very worthy favourite but I have never been afraid of an individual horse, so if Sceptical comes out and continues his upward curve at Naas, I’d say he could well travel to Ascot and take his chance”.
Purchased for small money (£2,800) – would McAuley now be ‘tempted’ to take an offer from another owner for Sceptical before Royal Ascot even happens?, McAuley quickly replied; “He will definitely stay in our orange colours, we have turned down a number of eye-watering offers since his last win and we are going to roll the dice and hope for the best with him”.
McAuley then added; He owes us absolutely nothing already and we are hoping he can take us to places that money just cannot buy”.