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Puffin Billy

Puffin Billy (right) suffered surprise odds-on defeat at Exeter on Sunday

  PICTURE: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images  

Foot problem blamed for Puffin Billy defeat

OLIVER SHERWOOD on Monday revealed that a minor foot problem may have been the cause of promising hurdler Puffin Billy's losing his unbeaten record at Exeter.

He is full of hope that the William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle and Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle entry will make a quick recovery and bid to avenge his defeat at Cheltenham next month.

The dual bumper winner went off 4-5 favourite to land a third straight jumping success in a Listed novice hurdle at Exeter on Sunday, only to be beaten nine lengths into second by Melodic Rendezvous.

Puffin Billy was found to be lame on the evening of racing and after a morning check-up his trainer said: "My farrier has found quite a nasty corny, puffy foot which has burst open. It's quite common with the weather so wet; their feet get soft and it's like a blood blister underneath your foot.

"That would be 100 per cent why he ran like he did on Sunday. That's why he hung right after the second-last. I knew something wasn't right but thank god it's not long-lasting.

"He'll be fine in a few days' time. He's got to have a couple of days' poulticing. But he'll be back in light work at the beginning of next week."

Sherwood added: "I'm not going to count my chickens and we'll take it day by day but god willing he'll go to Cheltenham. Obviously it's not good going there on a poor run, but we know there was a reason why he ran like he did."

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