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."
20 November 2014Leading Light retired
Frankel filly breaks Irish record
Linton loses Listed place
Doubles for Pipe and Scudamore
Nasty spill for Insole
McCoy targets midweek return
Farm comes Home to roost at Thurles
Flemenstar future dictated by scan
McNamara joy at turning pro
Volnay seeking Mersey paradise
Cue lined up for Haydock return
Sloane Avenue books Dubai date
Spencer reveals Qatar riding snub
Doyle ready for Godolphin challenge
Good news at Huntingdon
BHA hear Linton case
Avenue shows winning way
Grugy diagnosed with hip issue
Meade plots Monksland comeback
Ptit secures swift double
Shanes shines in hurdles win
Mullins' stars set for weekend runs
Haydock aim for Aurore
Medermit in Betfair contention
19 November 2014Shaneshill sparkles on hurdles bow
O'Grady keen on Becher run
High hopes for Zaidiyn
Cyclone makes Thurles return
Betfair launch National Jockey Day
Risk set for Haydock return
Murphy back at Navan for Troytown
Ground key to Aubusson Haydock bid
Knock A Hand in Troytown contention
Vautour given Navan entry
Place Hennessy bid excites King
That pleases in Newbury spin
Ascot aim for Master
Clouds primed for Hennessy bid
Challow option for Games
December aim for Berlais
Fenton facing Turf Club verdict
18 November 2014Nephew in Hennessy mix
Three runners for Sandra Hughes
Kempton first for Cladocera
Hobbs seeking Hennessy gold
Easy possible for quick return
Modest Moore strives for perfection
Driving ban for Queally
Meade bemused by Wood demise
Warrior no soft touch in Hennessy
Heron angling for Kempton honours
Able Deputy delivers at Plumpton
Mullins heavyweights in at Ascot
One and only on Mersey beat
Cue takes aim at Haydock double
Re set for second hurdles run
17 November 2014Leopardstown on Ned agenda
French raider for Hyde heat
King has Leopardstown aim
Great meeting complete for Hobbs
It's Uxizandre all the way
Chancol grinds out success
Dunraven storms to victory
Hurricane storms back in Morgiana
Henderson on the scoreboard
Scan key to Grugy Sandown bid
Tributes flow on 'a sad day'
A man who conquered on all fronts
Death of racing great Hughes