Tizzard makes Intentions known after Spirit win

Third Intention clears the last fence as he storms to a nine-length victory in the National Spirit Hurdle Picture: Clive Bennett
Third Intention clears the last fence as he storms to a nine-length victory in the National Spirit Hurdle Picture: Clive Bennett
The start of racing on Washout Wednesday / Picture by Malcolm Wells

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Joe Tizzard toasted Third Intention’s National Spirit Hurdle triumph and declared: You ain’t seen nothing yet.

The talented jockey was given an armchair ride on the 11/10 favourite, as he simply hosed up to beat Topolski by nine lengths in the Grade 2 feature race.

It was by no means a vintage renewal of Fontwell’s richest race – made weaker by the 11th-hour defection of Clerk’s Choice due to the sticky ground.

But punters could not help but be impressed by the dominant display of Third Intention, who needed little encouragement from his rider to land the £16,800 purse.

Tizzard, who sat in midfield for most of the contest before easing clear when turning for home, was delighted with the victory. He has his eyes firmly fixed on next season, though, when the five-year-old son of Azamour will go novice chasing.

And he fired a warning to future rivals – insisting his mount will be an even better horse when switched to fences.

‘He has done that super,’ said Tizzard.

‘It was not a great renewal, I don’t think, but it is nice for the horse and a real confidence boost.

‘That was the first time he has stepped up in trip and he has got it really well.

‘But whatever happens now, next year when he is chasing will be the thing.

‘That will be his game – he is just a beautiful, beautiful jumper.

‘We have been talking about that over the past 18 months, so there is definitely more to come.’

Next on the agenda is the Cheltenham Festival, though, where he is expected to run in the Grade 3 Coral Cup over two miles and five furlongs. And he will go there brimming with confidence after landing a late gamble for his trainer, Joe’s father Colin Tizzard.

The Dorset handler said: ‘It was just nice to see the way he came away to win it easily.

‘This race was a bit of an afterthought, though, to be honest.

‘I saw it and thought he deserves to go and win a nice prize.

‘And when I saw the entries, with none of the big guns in there, I decided to have a go.’

Lambourn trainer Oliver Sherwood made the Tizzard family’s job that bit easier when he withdrew Clerk’s Choice from the feature race – little more than an hour prior to the start.

Not wanting to risk his six-year-old on the ground, which was stickier than the official good-to-soft, the coast was clear for Third Intention to become the youngest winner of the race since Hughie Morrison’s Starzaan in 2004.

Rated 145, he was second in last season’s JCB Triumph Hurdle trial before finishing seventh behind Zarkandar in the main event at the Festival.