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.
“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.”
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.”