Third Intention: got off the mark over fences at the eighth attemptPICTURE: Getty Images
Third Intention ends Rebel Fitz winning streak
Report: Cheltenham, Friday
Cheltenham Annual Members Novices' Chase (Class 2) 2m4f, 4yo+
THIRD INTENTION put in a near faultless round of jumping to end Rebel Fitz's run of five victories in a row over fences.
The Colin Tizzard-trained six-year-old failed to get off the mark over fences in seven attempts last season despite some impressive runs behind the likes of Dynaste and Captain Conan.
However, despite being the 11-8 outsider in the two-horse race, Third Intention had too much jumping power for the Michael Winters-trained eight-year-old and went on to score by a length and a quarter from the 4-7 favourite.
"Last season his head kept coming up," said Tizzard. "He is a lovely flamboyant horse and he kept his head down after the last and finished strongly.
"Joe [Tizzard] didn't need to use the stick on him and he thinks it is when he uses the stick that is head pops up.
"It was only a two horse race so we won't get carried away," added the trainer. "He attacked the fences well out front and I have always said Joe is 7lb better when he's in-front.
"He can go two miles, two-and-a-half, or three miles but I don't think we will go two miles because he stays three so well. He has won over two-and-a-half so I think we will stay at that for now."
It was a first run on British soil for Rebel Fitz who has won his last five races over fences in Ireland and despite a mistake at the first, he travelled well throughout the majority of the race before another mistake four from home handed the initiative to his rival.
After a shake-up from jockey Barry Geraghty, Rebel Fitz was soon back travelling but despite a slight mistake from Third Intention at the penultimate fence, the mount of Joe Tizzard leaped over the last in great style and powered up the hill for victory.
Paddy Power were seemingly impressed by Third Intention going 25-1 shot for the Jewson Novices' Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.