DENIS Hogan is set to saddle his first runner in the colours of Qatar Racing at Royal Ascot after Sheikh Fahad Al-Thani’s operation moved to privately snap up the yard’s recent Ebor trial runner-up Tyson Fury.

A classy performer with a rating of 108 at his peak for Richard Spencer, the seven-year-old appeared to be on the wane before joining Hogan for just £9,000 at last October’s Tattersalls Autumn Horses-in-Training Sale. However, he has proved to be a real bargain buy.

Only failing to collect prize money once in his first seven starts for the Co Tipperary team - and a ready winner at Dundalk in February - the useful stayer posted one of his best efforts yet when beaten a short-head in last week’s €50,000 Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Premier Handicap at the Curragh.

Since that showing, Qatar Racing has bought into Tyson Fury ahead of his run in next Tuesday’s £110,000 Copper Horse Handicap over a mile and six furlongs.

Hogan told The Irish Field: “He was always a good horse. He had his few issues but thankfully he’s healthy now, and that’s allowing him to show his full ability.

“In the lead-up to Ascot, he’s been bought to run in the colours of Qatar Racing for Sheikh Fahad. It’s brilliant for the yard to have that involvement with Qatar Racing, he’s our first horse for Sheikh Fahad.

“He had been interested in buying a couple of our horses in the past and it just didn’t work out at the time, but I’ve always got on well with him and we’re looking forward to having one for him at Royal Ascot where he and his family will be racing.

“My mam [Mary] has retained a share in the horse so I’m sure her and dad [Martin] will be heading over to Ascot next week. It’s very exciting for them too.”

Dundalk in December might not be the likeliest of starting points for Royal Ascot dreams, yet Hogan says he earmarked the Royal Meeting as a possibility for the former Ascot course winner over the winter months.

“This was on my radar for him after a couple of starts on the all-weather over the winter,” said the dual-purpose trainer.

“Initially I had thought of him as one for the Ascot Stakes, but his run at the Curragh the other day was very good and he ended up getting raised 2lb, which pushed him out of contention for that race.

“That means we’re now going for the Copper Horse Handicap. Even though the Ascot Stakes was my original thinking, I’m actually much happier to be running over this shorter trip. It should suit him better.

“We’re really looking forward to running him. This is a good horse. Hopefully we get a bit of luck on the day.”

This is not Hogan’s first tilt at the big time with a cheaply-bought castoff. Sceptical, who progressed from being a Dundalk maiden winner to Ireland's top-rated sprinter within four starts in 2019/’20, cost just £2,800 from Godolphin. He finished a close-up third in the 2020 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot when sent off 2/1 favourite under Frankie Dettori.

Make A Challenge, another major improver who went from a rating of 66 to 112 in the space of six months in 2019, was also bought from Godolphin unraced for a mere £6,500.