Third Time Lucki confirmed himself a smart prospect in returning to winning ways with a stylish success at Kempton Park.
Last season’s Champion Bumper fourth saw his unbeaten record over hurdles come to an end on his previous start when suffering a surprise defeat in a Grade Two at Cheltenham.
Ridden much closer to the pace on this occasion, the 11-10 favourite moved effortlessly into contention in the Get Your Ladbrokes £1 Free Bet Novices’ Hurdle rounding the home turn, before moving clear between the final two flights and scoring by nine lengths from long-time leader Flic Ou Voyou.
Skelton said: “The leader got away at Cheltenham and we tried to chase them, but it was too much to do in really tacky ground.
“I thought we did quite well to get as close as we did really, as no one could bridge the gap. The winner (For Pleasure) had flown and fair play to the winner that day.
“You can see with this horse he has a lot of natural talent. Now we can ride him a bit closer to the pace, especially around a track like this, he is becoming more and more the finished article. Today’s test suited us a lot better on nicer ground.”
The Alcester handler plans to consult owners Mike and Eileen Newbould before working out where to go with Third Time Lucki, who was cut to 14-1 for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle by both Paddy Power and Betfair.
Skelton added: “I will have a chat with Mike and Eileen and see where we end up next. You can see, though, he has got a hell of a future ahead of him.
“To be fair to Mike and Eileen they have never said it is all about Cheltenham. They would be happy to do what is right for the horse and win the best races we can en route.
“Yes he will have an entry in the Supreme and yes it is likely, but if we felt there was a different route we would look at it.”
Killer Clown opened his account under rules with a first fencing victory at the fourth attempt in the Play Ladbrokes 5-A-Side On Football Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.
The Emma Lavelle-trained six-year-old continued his steady progression since unseating on his chasing debut at Uttoxeter by claiming victory in the extended two-and-a-half-mile prize.
Putting in a measured round of jumping, the 9-2 shot drew steadily clear over the final three fences and seven and a half lengths in hand of Falco Blitz at the line.
Winning rider Adam Wedge said: “I think the flat track and two and a half has done him the world of good today.
“His jumping’s just got so good, he jumped them into the ground down the back straight so I could fill him turning in and he’s done it very well.
“He’s improved with every run, which is lovely to see, and hopefully there’s more to come.”