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Frankie Dettori has been booked to ride exciting sprinter Sceptical in the King’s Stakes Stakes at Royal Ascot on Tuesday.
The four-year-old started life with Godolphin, but was snapped up for just £2,800 by James McAuley at the sales in August before making his debut at Dundalk in October.
He subsequently won three times on the all-weather for trainer Denis Hogan through the winter and proved equally as capable on his first turf start at Naas on Monday, running out an emphatic winner of the Woodlands Stakes.
Joey Sheridan has partnered Sceptical on his last two outings, but 7lb claimers cannot resume riding in Britain until June 22.
While McAuley’s name appears as the owner on racecards, he owns the gelding under the Hilltop Racing banner which includes his brother, Stephen, and their uncle, Jim Gough.
A tweet from the Hilltop account read: “Sceptical is in great form after his win @NaasRacecourse on Monday and will head to @Ascot for the Kings Stand Stakes next Tuesday. Unfortunately due to @BHAPressOffice rules @joeysheridan8 will not be able to ride but he will now be ridden by the brilliant @FrankieDettori.”
Sceptical is as short as 5-2 with William Hill for the Group One feature behind hot favourite Battaash, and Hogan said: “He came out of the race well and he was entered this morning for Royal Ascot. There are 14 entries in the King’s Stand.
“Obviously Joey won’t be able to ride and it’s great that we have got Frankie.
“A lot of the top jockeys were looking for the ride, but Frankie was first in and he’s on board. It’s very exciting to have him.”
John Quinn is keen to have a crack at the race with Liberty Beach.
The speedy filly, who won the Molecomb at Goodwood last year, made a winning reappearance at Haydock on Sunday.
Quinn had been undecided whether to keep her to six furlongs or drop back to five at Ascot, but he feels she is more at home over the minimum distance.
“I’ve put her in the King’s Stand,” said Quinn.
“She won over six the other day and you can’t say she doesn’t get six, but she just wants to get on with things.
“So, we’ve put her in the King’s Stand and the main thing is the filly is fine. If she’s OK she’ll run.
“She’s won on every ground, quick ground and slow, she’ll go on anything I think.
“Last year she won her debut on May 27, 10 days’ later she won the Hilary Needler and 10 days after that she nearly won the Queen Mary so it doesn’t bother me that she’s running again so quickly.
“It’s going to be tough, don’t get me wrong, but the main thing is the filly is fine. After that it’s a funny year.”
Battaash was runner-up to the now-retired Blue Point 12 months ago and his trainer Charlie Hills is also represented by the smart Equilateral.
Prix de l’Abbaye heroine Glass Slippers is on course for Kevin Ryan and Roger Teal has entered his Abernant Stakes winner Oxted.
Aidan O’Brien has two contenders in the shape of Sergei Prokofiev and Southern Hills, while there is further Irish interest through Darren Bunyan’s Hit The Bid.
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