Song For Someone could bid to retain his Unibet International Hurdle crown at Cheltenham after a valiant run in defeat in the Coral Hurdle on Saturday.
The gelding was a five-length winner of the Ascot race last season, the first leg of a Grade Two double that then included a narrow victory over Silver Streak in the International Hurdle.
Song For Someone was a gallant runner-up on his first run of the term when beaten three and a quarter lengths by Nicky Henderson’s even-money favourite Buzz.
Symonds was pleased to see his stable star back in form and was satisfied the six-year-old had left behind a disappointing run in April when he was pulled up in the Aintree Hurdle.
“We were very happy to see him back to the horse we saw at the beginning of last year,” he said.
“He showed the old zest and enthusiasm for the hurdles like he did last year at Ascot.
“He was probably a bit ring-rusty in terms of his racing but he hadn’t run for a while – I don’t count Aintree as a run really, so he hadn’t had a race since February last year.
“We were very happy with the run, we were delighted to see him back.”
Despite suffering a defeat this time around at Ascot, Symonds still felt the run was a more impressive performance than his victory in 2020, and regular rider Aidan Coleman was in agreement.
“I actually thought he bettered last year’s performance as it was a better race, but the handicapper seems to have thought the opposite and has actually dropped him (from 158 to 155),” Symonds said.
“Aidan has felt that even when he’s won, he’s sometimes not felt as happy with him as he thought he might, but on Saturday he came back very ebullient in his debrief.
“I know we didn’t win, but we’ve run into an improving horse who has essentially outstayed us after they went at a good gallop, set by us.”
A tilt at a second International Hurdle title could be next on the agenda, with the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day another possible outing.
“He is fine since, thankfully, I think we will either look at the International or the Christmas Hurdle,” Symonds said.
“The ground has been a bit of a question, whether he’d want soft or he’d want fast, but he seemed to deal with the ground on Saturday which was on the quicker side.
“I’ll look at the International, which he won last year, and the Christmas Hurdle. It’ll be one or the other, not both.”