Six-year-old climbs to top of novice chaser ratings
THIRD Intention's claim to fame is that he is the highest rated novice chaser in the land.
Colin Tizzard's six-year-old is on a whopping 151 – loftier than the yard's runaway Cheltenham Festival hero Golden Chieftain – after producing some blinders in defeat against Grade One and Two opposition last season.
His seven chases last term resulted in three seconds and three thirds – and a tasty £40,700 in prize-money – but that win over fences remained elusive after being headed on the line in the Grade One Scilly Isles Novices' Chase at Sandown Park in February and then going down to Dynaste at Aintree two months later having led on the bit three out.
The Milborne Port handler said: "Third Intention was brilliant a couple of times but we felt something was stopping him at Sandown and at Aintree." However, Tizzard may have found the remedy: "We had fitted him with a tongue tie because he made a noise at home but now he's had a wind operation. Obviously he's not well handicapped, so we'll start him in a novice event at the first Cheltenham meeting in October."
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Ohio Gold has a similar profile to Third Intention as the seven-year-old also ran some crackers over fences last season without winning, including being third of 20 over 2m5f at the Cheltenham Festival.
"Ohio Gold is a lovely young horse who needs juice in the ground. We won't be afraid to run him in big races though we'll try and win a couple of smaller ones first."
Grand Vision was last seen running a brilliant race when a close third to the ill-fated Brindisi Breeze and Boston Bob in the Grade One Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at the 2012 Cheltenham Festival.
The grey has since been sidelined with a tendon injury but Tizzard reports him 100 per cent and has had him back in training since late June. "Grand Vision smacks his feet down too hard, so must have genuine soft ground. He'll be ready when the ground is and I'm sure he'll go chasing over a minimum of 2m4f."
Theatre Guide is a possible for the Hennessy Gold Cup and should benefit from having had his palate cauterized during the summer to help breathing.
"He took a crashing fall when in with a winning chance of a Grade Two chase at Kempton in February and though he schooled fine afterwards he was terrified when he went to Cheltenham. He then won a confidence booster with his head in his chest at Newton Abbot in April."
As for Theatrical Star: "He won three staying novice chases last season and was pulled up in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham. He looked outclassed that day but is better than that."
The 10-year-old Hey Big Spender is another to have had a wind op during the summer: "A fabulous horse for us and he'll be aimed at veterans' races between 2m4f and 3m."