LiveScore Racing News: Hopes high for Third Time Lucki
Trainer Dan Skelton is hoping Third Time Lucki can make it three wins from three over fences this season when he steps up to Grade One level at Sandown on Saturday.
The six-year-old has been in fine fettle recently after having a six-month break over the spring and summer.
He returned to win a Novices' Chase at Cheltenham in October, finishing over eight lengths clear of Buddy Rich in second.
Staying at Cheltenham, the son of Arcadia then won the Grade Two Novices' Chase by four lengths.
Now, he is to step up to the highest class on Saturday in the Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown as he seeks to make up for lost time.
Much was expected of him early in his career, but he stalled after finishing fourth in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival in 2020, behind eventual winner Ferny Hollow.
However, Skelton is confident Third Time Lucki is now finally blossoming and he believes both his recent wins have been impressive.
"I always thought he would be very good and I'm delighted it is proving that way. He loves his fences and that has been the making of him," said Skelton.
"I wouldn't rate either of his performances at Cheltenham as one being better than the other.
"I think the second performance might have been downplayed as Harry (Skelton) was cautious over the last three fences. Make no mistake, he put the race to bed and there was no need to be overly aggressive on him."
Joining Third Time Lucki in the seven-strong field is Alan King's Edwardstone, who won the Bloodstock Novices' Chase at Warwick a fortnight ago.
It was his first win in a novice chase race and King is confident he can take that good form into Saturday's Sandown meeting.
"He is in good order. I have been very happy with him since Warwick," said King.
"Of course it is a competitive race, but it is a Grade One, so it deserves to be.
"We'll take our chance. He's done everything right since Warwick and let's see how we get on. The ground will be fine for him."
Colin Tizzard's War Lord and Donald McCain's Minella Drama are also taking part in what is set to be a thrilling Grade One contest.