Sceptical is set to bypass Tuesday’s King’s Stand Stakes in favour of the Diamond Jubilee on the final day of Royal Ascot.
Denis Hogan’s charge was an impressive winner of the Woodlands Stakes over five and a half furlongs at Naas on Monday, with Frankie Dettori subsequently booked to ride in the five-furlong King’s Stand on the opening day of the meeting.
However, Sceptical, who runs in James McAuley’s name but is owned in partnership with his brother, Stephen, and their uncle, Jim Gough under the Hilltop Racing banner, will now wait for the six-furlong Diamond Jubilee instead.
Hogan tweeted: “After discussing with @RacingHilltop +jockeys, weighing up all options, we have decided in the best interest and welfare of the horse – and considering long season ahead – to skip the King’s Stand in favour of the Diamond Jubilee on Saturday allowing him five extra days.”
Coral make Sceptical the 3-1 favourite for the Diamond Jubilee, while Battaash is now 4-6 favourite (from 11-10) for the King’s Stand.
“With old rival Blue Point now retired, Sceptical appeared to be the major obstacle between Battaash and a King’s Stand Stakes victory, and so the absence of the Irish sprinter from Tuesday’s race means the Charlie Hills-trained speedster will go into the Royal meeting as the shortest priced favourite of the week,” said Coral’s David Stevens.