A reason for what looked a below-par performance by Puffin Billy at Exeter on Sunday appears to have been revealed, with the smart novice hurdler found to have pus in one of his hooves.
Unbeaten in four starts prior to a Listed event at the Devon course, Oliver Sherwood's gelding was sent off the odds-on favourite but proved no match for Melodic Rendezvous and was beaten by nine lengths.
Found to be lame by the Exeter vets, Puffin Billy has entries in the William Hill Supreme and Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdles at Cheltenham.
Sherwood said: "My farrier dug out a whole load of pus from one of his feet (on Monday morning). What with the wet weather, it's like getting a blister and he'll have two or three quiet days having it poulticed.
"Hopefully he'll be able to be ridden towards the end of the week.
"I don't like to have sour grapes, and take nothing away from Melodic Rendezvous, but at least we have some sort of reason for his run."
Sherwood is not sure whether one of his other Cheltenham prospects, Mischievous Milly, will contest Friday's Jane Seymour Mares' Novices' Hurdle at Sandown.
She beat last weekend's Warwick Grade Two winner Ma Filleule on her most recent run at Taunton.
"I'm loathe to run her on desperate ground over two and a half miles, so I'm not sure I will have made a decision until Thursday morning," Sherwood said.
"I don't want to bottom her out."
1 August 2015Mullins dominates Galway feature
Rebel returns at Galway
Harty looking forward to a good Day
'Overwhelmed' Hughes bows out
Legatissimo stamps class on Nassau
Magical Dettori top gun at Goodwood
No fairytale ending for Hughes
Stewards' glory for Magical Dettori
Legatissimo proves Nassau queen
Dart hits Goodwood bullseye
Fantastic Frankie takes right Steps
Latharnach could drop back in trip
McNamara eager for training career
Times targets Stewards' consolation
Hughes reflects on a golden career
Warrior books Ebor ticket
Muthmir makes amends
Hughes at his best on Bay
Mile proves golden for Beloved
Malabar stamps her class
Dettori guides Dubday to landmark
Charlton so Close to historic win
Diamonds ready to sparkle in Nassau
31 July 2015Pacy Muthmir rules in King George
Breizh bids for Galway glory
Pharoah Phan Phestival good to go
Jack's the lad in Galway Hurdle
Gosden salutes 'magical' Sir Peter
Laviniad gets up late in Corrib
Simple for Beckett and Bentley
Orange pips Goodwood rivals
Shalaa dazzles in Richmond
Relief for Hughes as Gibeon strikes
Cover up for Goodwood defence
30 July 2015Clown gets serious at Galway
Eddery aiming for Mile high
Fox finale for Hughes
Ivory unveils strong Stewards' team
Treacy sent for scans
Stars on show in Nassau
Lynam 'proud' of Sir Peter alliance
Tributes pour in for O'Sullevan
It's Shanahan's turn at Galway
Sir Peter O'Sullevan dies, aged 97
Kachy not for catching in Molecomb
No Sussex regrets for O'Brien
Solow flying high at Goodwood
Highland reels in Gordon rivals
Shalaa in top trim for Richmond
Dunlop excited by Trip to Goodwood
29 July 2015Fortune favours Twiston-Davies
Peacock pair vie for Galway glory
Moviesta gets King George go-ahead
Karakontie has Deauville date
Dog delivers for Mullins and Walsh
Tint proves Topaz jewel
Maguire back in the saddle
Blue back with a bang
Tough Toormore takes Lennox glory
All roads lead to Arc for Postponed
Logan shines for Kirby
Frankie grabs Gold at Goodwood
So seeking Sussex success