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Alcester's Dan Skelton has high hopes for Third Time Lucki in today's Betway Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter

DAN Skelton is bullish about the chances of Third Time Lucki in the Betway Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter today (Friday) – day one of The West Country Weekend, reports Nick Seddon.

Third Time Lucki. Photo: The Jockey Club/Grossick Photography (60434352)
Third Time Lucki. Photo: The Jockey Club/Grossick Photography (60434352)

A total of five horses were declared for the Grade Two limited handicap chase over an extended two miles and a furlong and Third Time Lucki is currently the 7-4 Favourite with race sponsor Betway.

The seven-year-old won three of his six starts last season, scoring twice at Cheltenham (including in the Grade Two November Novices’ Chase) and in the Grade Two Lightning Novices' Chase at Doncaster.

Owned by Mike and Eileen Newbould, the son of Arcadio was last seen when third in the Grade One Maghull Novices’ Chase at Aintree in April.

Speaking at a stable visit organised by The Jockey Club, Alcester handler Skelton said: “He’s a very fast horse and you saw him on a number of occasions winning at Cheltenham then at Doncaster. He is very good fresh like his partner Nube Negra and he will run on Friday in the Haldon Gold Cup.

“There’s five runners and a small field suits him, as will a fast run race.

"He was very good early last season as you saw and I got frustrated and did what I wanted to do at Sandown (in the Grade One Henry VIII Novices' Chase).

Harry made the running and it was completely my fault – there was always going to be a day that we tried it and it just didn’t work. The great thing about trying that though is that we’ve tried and we don’t have to try again.

“He’s got a very high cruising speed and touch wood jumps very nicely and I hope that as a second season and beyond chaser he can take high rank with them all.

"I can see a race like the Grade Two Desert Orchid Chase (at Kempton Park in December) really suiting this horse and then the better the ground in any race the better he will be.

“He shows great speed and I think he’s got a massive chance. Greaneteen being declared gives him a nice weight and he’s got to give 4lb to War Lord on ground that I believe favours us so he’s got to go well.

“Second season chasers have a great record in the race and I don’t see why he should be out of that mould.

"He’s very good fresh and his start of season form is exceptional. He won two Grade Twos last year and didn’t quite get the better of Edwardstone, but he’s not there so hopefully this is our big chance for the start of the season and then we’ll plan things out from there.”

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