Third Intention: snapped a losing run of ten in the Old Roan Chase
PICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
By Tony McFadden 3:58PM 23 OCT 2016
Report: Aintree, Sunday
188Bet Monet’s Garden Old Roan Handicap Chase (Grade 2) 2m4f, 4yo+
THIRD INTENTION provided trainer Colin Tizzard with a win in the biggest steeplechase run in Britain so far this season, in what could be a sign of things to come.
Tizzard may unleash World Hurdle winner Thistlecrack over fences for the first time at Chepstow on Tuesday, while King George winner Cue Card could be tasked with defending his Charlie Hall Chase title at Wetherby on Saturday. On Sunday however, it was Third Intention’s time to shine.
Third Intention had not won since February of last year, when he beat Josses Hill in a four-runner graduation chase, but his handicap rating had fallen as a consequence and he cashed in on his lenient mark to beat the staying-on God’s Own by one and three-quarter lengths.
Third Intention, who was ridden by Aidan Coleman for the first time, put in a couple of sloppy leaps early on and had all six rivals in front of him as the runners made the turn for home.
Vibrato Valtat looked the likely winner when Royal Regatta, who had cut out the running, made a shuddering error at the third from home, while 7-4 favourite Three Musketeers came under pressure.
But the complexion of the race changed between the final two fences when Third Intention, who responded strongly to his rider’s urgings, surged to the front and put in a spring-heeled leap at the last to secure matters.
Third Intention – tipped by Pricewise at 9-1 – returned as a well-backed 5-1 winner.
Another wind op
“He’s seen it out well, which is good because he has stopped in the past,” said Tizzard. “I don’t know if it had any effect, but we did his wind in July – a soft palate – which we had first done on him three years ago. Maybe we’ve been doing him a disservice saying he was ungenuine.”
Tizzard added: “He hit the third and Aidan said he dropped from about third to last. But he’s switched off in behind, got a bit of daylight in the straight and it’s worked out.
“We like Aidan a lot. We just wish we could use him a bit more.”
Last year’s impressive Hennessy Gold Cup winner Smad Place ran respectably to finish fourth under top weight and over a trip short of his best. Alan King’s star kept on well close home and only narrowly missed out on third.
Dual Tingle Creek Chase winner Sire De Grugy, who was a non-runner at Chepstow a fortnight ago on account of the going being deemed too fast, failed to fire and was last of seven.