Song For Someone to take International audition

Tom Symonds intends to put Song For Someone’s spring ambitions to the test by running him in next month’s International Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Having been away from the track since winning the Kingwell Hurdle at Kempton in February, the five-year-old made a successful return to action despite going off the outsider of three in Saturday’s Grade Two Coral Hurdle at Ascot.

With that form difficult to quantify, after hot favourite Laurina suffered a broken blood vessel and was subsequently retired, Symonds hopes to learn more about Song For Someone’s capabilities in a recognised Champion Hurdle trial at Prestbury Park.

“He’s come out of the race really fresh and well,” said the Herefordshire trainer.

“I see the handicapper has put him up 3lb to 156 off the back of winning on Saturday. It was a difficult race to assess, I’d have said, from a handicapping point of view.

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“We didn’t confirm him for the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle this weekend, and the plan would be to look to enter him in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham.

“I’m not saying he has to have it, but soft ground definitely helps the horse.”

Trainer Tom Symonds is enjoying an excellent run of form
Trainer Tom Symonds is enjoying an excellent run of form (David Davies/PA)

Having proved his stamina over the best part of two and a half miles, Song For Someone has the option of tackling longer distances, should he be found out for a lack of pace in the International Hurdle.

However, Symonds is unsure whether a step up to three miles for a tilt at the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March would be the right call at this early stage of Song For Someone’s career.

He added: “We’re very happy with whatever he is, whether that means waiting for Aintree (and missing the Cheltenham Festival) or whatever.

“The only thing I would say is he’s only a five-year-old rising six, so whether you would want to go three miles round Cheltenham in a Stayers’ Hurdle at this stage of his life is a question.

“We’ll just take it step by step.”

Symonds has his string in fantastic form at present, with five of his last seven runners coming home in front.

Along with Song For Someone, another significant Saturday winner for the yard was Llandinabo Lad – who landed a Listed novice hurdle at Haydock under multiple champion jockey Richard Johnson.

“He’s a home-bred horse, so it was really pleasing to see him go and win a Listed race,” said Symonds.

“Our plan, based on what Mr Johnson told us, is to look towards the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown.

“Soft ground really suits him, and I just slightly felt the track at Haydock didn’t really play to his strengths, even in the attritional conditions that we had on the day. The fact that he still managed to win was quite impressive on only second start over hurdles.”

Song For Someone excels in Coral Hurdle

Song For Someone made every yard of the running to lift Grade Two honours in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot.

Nico de Boinville executed a perfectly-judged front-running ride aboard Tom Symonds’ charge to see off Call Me Lord and hot favourite Laurina with the minimum of fuss.

The five-year-old Song For Someone had been off the track since winning at Kempton in February, but De Boinville was eager to assume control from the off, with 11-8 favourite Laurina racing pretty keenly on her first start for Paul Nicholls.

She was first off the bridle turning for home and quickly dropped away as it turned into a straight duel between Song For Someone and Call Me Lord, who is trained by De Boinville’s boss, Nicky Henderson.

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However, Song For Someone (11-4) had plenty in reserve, kicking on after the last to win by five lengths.

Symonds said: “The way he won the Kingwell really sat with us and kept us going through lockdown. On that day we saw a different dynamic to him, as he won on a sharp track on good ground, which I didn’t think he would be able to do.

“Today he was quite fresh early on, Nico said. He came in quite early as we have had a few early targets, but the one I wanted to go for was this, as he had run so well here before on this ground. He loves this type of park track.

“His hurdling is brilliant. He is so technically accurate, it is a joy to watch. At home it is quite scary as you can’t school him slowly as he hits everything, but if you go flat out, that’s when you see him at his best.”

Symonds, a former assistant to Henderson, added: “I know Nico from the early days and I remember him leading me on Long Run round the bowl in Lambourn before his Gold Cup win.

“He just kept it very simple and the horse likes it simple like that, as he can keep going. He is a fabulous horse, he is so unassuming. I’m delighted for the team as they have been great.

“The plans are I don’t know what. It would not be my style to go for the Fighting Fifth as these races, no matter how easy it looks, take a lot out of the horses. I’m thinking you could look at the International Hurdle or the Christmas Hurdle, but the ground would need to be soft.”

Song For Someone earned quotes of 25-1 with Coral and 33-1 with Betfair for the Champion Hurdle in March, but Symonds said: “He is a really good horse, but whether he has the tactical speed for a Champion Hurdle, I don’t know. The one I thought he would have run well in is the one last season as it was real soft ground, but the track would suit him.

“It might be we go to the International Hurdle and have a go at that. He did win a Kingwell on good ground, but I don’t think Kempton is his track. It’s a lovely problem to have, but you just want to do right by the horse.”