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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Sherwood eyes Supreme bid for BillyHeadlines
Puffin Billy

Puffin Billy is likely to run in the William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle over two miles at the Cheltenham Festival if the ground remains on the soft side.

Trainer Oliver Sherwood had previously stated he was favouring the longer Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle for his unbeaten youngster, but the prevailing conditions have seen him have a change of heart.

Puffin Billy was entered last weekend in the race won by Rebecca Curtis' At Fishers Cross, but Sherwood decided to swerve it as he did not fancy running him over two miles and five furlongs for the first time in heavy ground.

"I was perturbed about running over that trip for the first time on very tiring ground," Sherwood told At The Races.

"If it had been two miles I would have taken those horses on but, as everyone knows, Billy can be quite keen over two miles.

"I was aware of him having a hard race quite close to the Festival. I was not scared of the opposition, I was impressed by them but I didn't want him having a hard race before March.

"He'll go to Exeter on Sunday week for a Listed hurdle over two-one. He's in A1 form and I'm very happy with him.

"He'll have entries in both races in March. I know I said I was swaying towards the Neptune but my gut feeling, if it's soft ground, (is) he'll almost certainly run in the Supreme and if it's drier than that, I might switch to the Neptune. I'm pretty certain we'll wait until closer to the race (before making a definite decision).

"I'm sure punters will understand six weeks is a long time between now and Cheltenham. My gut feeling is two miles at the moment if the ground stays as soft as it is."

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