Song For Someone gave Herefordshire trainer Tom Symonds the biggest win of his career when holding off Silver Streak by a nose to win the Grade Two International Hurdle at Cheltenham.
The Aidan Coleman-ridden five-year-old is now a 20-1 shot for the Champion Hurdle back at the track in March but Symonds warned where Song For Someone runs in the Spring would ultimately be dictated by his preference for soft ground. He also hinted the two and a half mile Grade One Aintree Hurdle might ultimately prove the preferred target.
Disappointing of the race was favourite Goschen, who pulled too hard and faded to finish last of the 10 runners.
Song For Someone (L) just edged out Silver Streak to win at Cheltenham on Saturday
Symonds said: ‘The lack of hurdles caused a real problem. He got out of rhythm early on and Aidan said he was very brave today.
‘He did very well with no hurdles in the straight – as you saw at Ascot, when you are firing him at hurdles, that is when he is making ground, not on the flat.
‘I’m delighted. For a horse to win three Grade Twos on the trot is a really big effort and he is only a five-year-old. He is just a fantastic horse to have.
‘I’m thrilled for (owners) Sir Peter and Lady Gibbings, particularly Sir Peter, who is not well and has not been well for a long time. I can tell you the replays of the Kingwell Hurdle (in February) have definitely kept him going through lockdown, as he is in his own lockdown really at home.’
Symonds believes easy ground is key to Song For Someone’s potential Cheltenham or Aintree challenge.
The five-year-old’s win is trainer Tom Symonds’ biggest triumph as a trainer to date
He added: ‘It would need to be very soft for him to figure in one of those (Champion Hurdle or Aintree Hurdle).
‘I’m not downing him, but I just wonder if he has the tactical speed in a Champion Hurdle. I was surprised he won a Kingwell in the nicest sense. We will live on today.
‘We will see how we go, but I wonder if, on maybe softer ground, and even if it was better ground, two and a half at Aintree would suit him as we have seen with that race in general it suits horses that rock and roll.
‘He is just a fabulous horse and I’m glad we didn’t go chasing.’
Coleman added: ‘I was in top gear most of the way, believe it or not. He has a fantastic attitude. He kept finding.
‘Going around the last hurdle, he picked up again and he would have been an unlucky loser as he was just in front that little bit too long.
‘I’m not sure if the old track in the Champion Hurdle would suit him, I’m not just saying because of Epatante or anything like that.
‘He is maybe more of an Aintree horse. He has won three Grade Twos in his last three runs and he is ready to go up in company. He is a very admirable horse. A word for Tom Symonds as well, as he has done extremely well with him.’
Irish raider Chatham Street Lad was an easy winner of the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, giving jockey Darragh O’Keeffe the biggest success of his career.
Song For Someone is now a 20-1 shot at the same race track in the spring of 2021
Trained by Mick Winters, the eight-year-old had won two of his last three, but looked a class apart as he bounded up the hill.
O’Keeffe always looked full of confidence as he moved into a challenging position coming down the hill, with Paddy Power Gold Cup winner Coole Cody, Benatar, Master Tommytucker and Midnight Shadow all still in contention.
On landing in front at the second last, however, the Irish challenger sprinted clear and absolutely flew the final fence.
The 16-1 chance beat Midnight Shadow by 15 lengths, with the northern raider in turn well clear of Benatar and Good Boy Bobby in fourth.
Chatham Street Lad was the first Irish-trained winner of the race for 20 years since Edward O’Grady’s Go Roger Go.
Amateur jockey Gina Andrews, who was caught in the face by the hooves of a rival after a fall at Cheltenham on Friday, sustained a fractured cheekbone and eye socket.
Andrews’ jocjkey sister Bridget said: ‘She’s broken her cheekbone and her eye socket, but I think she’s going to be on her way home today.
‘All the main parts are working, so we’ll be glad to have her home. She’ll be back (to hospital) in the week to have a check up on her cheekbone to see if she needs an operation on it.
‘She’s going to be out for a little while, but she’s going to be all right and that’s the main thing.’