Nunthorpe Entries Hot Up As Sceptical Aimed At Group One


One of the stories of the season has been Sceptical for Denis Hogan, with the four year old costing next to nothing and has since gone close in two very hot sprinting Group Ones and he is now being targeted at another in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York.

Sceptical bounced onto the racing scene at the back end of last year when scoring at Dundalk at the second time of asking in very nice fashion.

From there the son of Exceed And Excel went on to land two more races at the Irish all weather track and showed plenty of ability which gave his trainer dreams of being a very useful runner.

After a small break due to the virus he returned at Naas in a Listed event and he went on to bolt up which meant all roads lead to Royal Ascot in the Diamond Jubilee where he showed his strong credentials to finish a very close third.

Frankie Dettori took the ride again at the weekend when he was a narrow loser in the July Cup but with two strong black type runs under his belt now he is well worth a crack at the Nunthorpe.

Hogan reports his stable star to have returned to Ireland none the worse and he will now be prepared for a third go at Group One glory.

(Credit AtTheRaces) The handler said: “He was back home yesterday (Sunday) and he seems to come out of the race well. He was a bit tired from all the travelling, but he’s good and sound, which is the main thing.

“He ran a very good race. It probably didn’t work out the way we expected as we were thinking if anything was going to beat us it would be Golden Horde, but that’s sprints for you.

“You’d have to be thrilled with him. We never expected to get this far and it’s small margins in these top-level sprints, but hopefully he’ll get his turn somewhere along the line.”

He added: “At the moment the plan is to go for the Nunthorpe. Frankie felt coming back to five (furlongs) would suit, which obviously means we’ll have to take on Battaash, but we’ll probably give it a go.

“There is a Group Three at the Curragh on August 9 – the Phoenix Sprint Stakes. We’ll just see how he is over the next few days and then decide whether to run him there first or just go straight to York.

“After the Nunthorpe you’ve got the Flying Five back at the Curragh (September 13) and Frankie mentioned the Prix de l’Abbaye at ParisLongchamp, but the obvious worry with that race would be the ground can come up pretty soft.

“There are plenty of options and it’s just a case of picking out the right races for him.”