A chat with… Tom Symonds

YOUNG, hungry and ambitious, Tom Symonds looks destined for big things as a trainer. After spending five years as assistant to Nicky Henderson, he set up on his own in 2011 at the former yard of John Edwards at Dason Court in Ross-on-Wye. Here he talks exclusively to Horse Racing Chat.

Tom, how many horses do you have in the yard at present?

30 and always room for more. Plans are sorted for 10 more boxes when needed.

You’ve predominantly trained jumpers so far but you’ve had a few flat runners: do you have ambitions to become a dual purpose trainer?

Yes, I love flat racing, particularly because of the breeding aspect although my default is jump racing.

Valmari gave you your first winner of the new jumps season the other day. Are you happy with the general condition of the jumping team?

Very much so but I’m hoping to keep the horses healthy throughout the season. Fitness wise they are exactly where I want them to be.

Felix De Giles (left) gave Valmari a cracking ride. How does he rate among today’s jockeys?

I think he is a great rider with a very good head on his shoulders. I hope this partnership can keep developing and evolving.

You only started training in 2011 and had seven winners last campaign. Any particular target for this jumps season?

No target but as long as I can get the best out of each horse then I will be satisfied.

Does being one of the youngest trainers (Tom is 27) bring any added pressure?

Age is only a number and I feel no pressure at all. I am my biggest critic.

You spent five years as assistant to Nicky Henderson and know Long Run better than most. Do you think he can recapture his Gold Cup crown?

I hope so although in the back of my mind is his high mileage for one so young and the cracking team of up-and-coming novices from last season.

And can anything touch Sprinter Sacre?

A dour staying two-miler on a testing track, but realistically no!

Has the economic climate made it difficult to attract owners?

Yes but I am lucky to have a lot of owner / breeders.

What about your team. Which of your horses are you looking forward to running this season?

Scholastica, Abruzzi and Prince Buster.

And what about one to follow?

The one I give nearly always goes wrong!

Do you have any horses for sale?

Yes….any interest go to www.thomassymonds.com

Away from racing, what do you do to relax?

Long distance running, music and reading.

Who’ve you got on your iPod?

The Killers, Muse, Arcade Fire, Led Zeppelin.

If you had a magic wand what one thing would you change about racing?

Reduce injuries and travelling around the country.

And, finally, what race would you love to win more than any other?

The Queen Mother Champion Chase ‒ fast and furious!

For more details of Tom’s yard, including horses for sale, please visit www.thomassymonds.com

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