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."
24 April 2014War saunters to easy success
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Rifles aimed at York
Dante considered for Arod
Carpenter faces stamina question
Tonto strives for Sandown scalp
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23 April 2014Telescope tops Richards runners
No rush for Annie target
Cosgrave appeal set for Monday
Hughes set for Sandown return
France adds flair to Guineas
Mullins drops Vautour Champion hint
Exciting Bunker given Dante date
Culloty keen on Gold run for Heeled
Hannon triple-handed in Guineas
Resurge revived for Epsom return
Sandown option for Battalion
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22 April 2014Rizeena delights in Guineas workout
Carberry targets swift return
Williamson escapes serious injury
Rizeena thrills Brittain on gallops
Door bags National glory
Twiston-Davies hits four-timer
Joe suffers shock defeat
Scudamore hits century mark
Ivan lands Fairyhouse prize
Thousand shows star quality
Cirrus set for Treve clash
Houblon heads Gold contenders
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21 April 2014Door bags National glory
Wilson passes away
Ivan lands Fairyhouse prize
Stepper set for trip drop
Richards in Telescope sights
Ladies geared for Summer repeat
Hill out of Irish National
No Dundeel at Royal Ascot
Clowance up for the Cup
Garner hit with lengthy ban
Memories in Final flourish
Fitz powers home at Fairyhouse
Toner hits target for Elliott
Joe ready for Cork outing
Lennon looking to call tune
Ground holds key to Tonto show
Lucky escape for Cook
Mind called up for National service