Song For Someone is likely to step back up in trip on his next start after finishing with a flourish to fill the runner-up spot in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Off the back of finishing second to Buzz when defending his crown in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot last month, the six-year-old was well fancied to make it back-to-back wins in Saturday’s Grade Two feature.
But Song For Someone was under pressure from an early stage before flying up the hill to be beaten just half a length by Guard Your Dreams, leaving trainer Tom Symonds with mixed emotions.
He said: “He’s come out of it very well, but then he didn’t really run for more than two furlongs!
“It’s a difficult one, because you can’t be disappointed in him as he’s been so amazing with what he’s done. He’s basically won or been second in all those early-season graded races.
“There’s no getting away from the fact that he was never really on an even keel the other day, but they do go lickety-split round there and he has never been a horse that has shown a lot of pace.
“It might be that the idiot trainer will finally realise that he might want further!”
Symonds now plans to give his stable star a mid-season break before preparing him for a spring campaign.
He added: “The line I’m taking is he wasn’t helping himself but he definitely didn’t disgrace himself.
“On a bad day, if you can take nearly £30,000 in prize-money then I’d probably take that.
“Having had a discussion with Lady Gibbings (owner), I think the plan is to give him a bit of a break.
“It’s a difficult programme for two-and-a-half-mile horses and the Relkeel Hurdle (at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day) will come too soon.
“There’s the Cleeve Hurdle at the end of January, but I think to be running over three miles for the first time at Cheltenham is quite a big ask really.
“It’s quite a way off, but we could look at something like the National Spirit at Fontwell in February over two and a half and step up in trip after that.
“Putting some cheekpieces on is another consideration, but we’ll see.”