The Dan Skelton-trained Three Musketeers (5g Flemensfirth-Friendly Craic, by Mister Lord) made it two out of two over hurdles when claiming a G2 success at Warwick on Saturday.
The son of Flemensfirth, who had scored by five lengths at Wetherby on his previous run, beat off a good field to win the G2 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle under the trainer’s brother Harry.
“He’s got a big engine, we believed in him,” the winning rider told PA Sport. ”He is such a big baby, we will look after him well and hopefully he will look after us. He’s got to step up but he’s got it all, he’s got a very good head on him.
“I hope he can go right to the top, this was only the third start of his life.”
Dan Skelton had always liked the five-year-old, a former Irish point-to-pointer bred by Bruce Mactaggart, and believes the gelding will be a high-class chaser next season.
“We’ve always held him in some regard. I’ve believed in this horse from day one and when he won at Wetherby he sort of told us we were right about him,” said the trainer.
“We were always going to come to this race. I know he’d only had two runs but I never wanted to give him more than three runs this season so I thought we may as well aim high as he won’t be hurdling next season.
“I was mightily impressed with the way he travelled and jumped. He had to commit two out and he’s jinked right-handed. That was just greenness. Harry gave him a smack coming to the last and he has really wanted to win.
“Cheltenham is out. He’s the type of horse you don’t want to enter or else you’d be tempted to run. My intention would be to go to Aintree if we went to one of the Festivals. He’s next season’s chaser.
“I can’t say he will go right to the top, but I think there’s more than enough there for him to get near the top. He’s a good horse, make no mistake.”