Horses To Follow » Song Of Songs

Song Of Songs

Song Of Songs made an eye-catching debut over fences in a really decent Class 3 novices’ chase at Newbury last Wednesday. Settled out the back by AP McCoy in the early stages, the son of Singspiel jumped a little sketchily and a little to his left in the main in the early stages, but did warm to his task as the race developed. A mistake at the cross fence stunted his progress, but he made nice ground around the home turn to be just on the heels of the leaders at the fourth last. From there, McCoy wasn’t hard on him at all, he didn’t hit him with the stick even once, but he kept on well all the way to the line to deny Shatabdi third spot behind the highly talented Planet Of Sound and the useful French Opera.

This was Song Of Songs’s first chase, and his first race since he was pulled up behind Pearl King in a big two-mile handicap hurdle at Aintree last April. A dual winner over 10 furlongs on the flat, he won twice as well as a novice hurdler last season, and he looked the most likely winner of the Coral Cup, for which he was well fancied, at Cheltenham last March rounding the home turn before lack of stamina seemed to do it for him, and he faded up the hill to finish seventh. Nevertheless, it is probable that a rating over hurdles of 129 under-estimated his ability in that sphere, and he could be a really useful recruit to chasing. He was entered in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last season but, given how that contest panned out, with the owner’s Captain Cee Bee and Binocular filling the first two places, it is perhaps not surprising that he did not take his chance in it.

It is difficult to know what the plan might be for him now. Obviously James Fanshawe will be anxious to get a win over fences into him but, given the fact that he is owned by JP McManus, it would be surprising if the big spring festivals were not on his radar. Given how good a record novices have in the race, the Grand Annual could be the race for him at Cheltenham if he goes there. The fast pace of that race should suit, as should the drop back down to two miles, and it could be the ideal opportunity to exploit a potentially favourable handicap mark.

14th January, 2009