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Puffin Billy

Puffin Billy (right): heading to Haydock for attempt at fifth win in a row

  PICTURE: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images  

Sherwood nominates Neptune for Puffin Billy

OLIVER SHERWOOD is leaning towards running the unbeaten Puffin Billy in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle, not the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, at the Cheltenham Festival.

Sherwood revealed his preference in a stable tour appearing in Wednesday's Weekender.

The five-year-old, who brought his run of wins to four with a comfortable Grade 2 win at Ascot last month, is as short as 8-1 second favourite for the Supreme over 2m ½f and 10-1 joint third favourite for the Neptune over 2m 5f.

Sherwood said: "So far he has only been running on ground with plenty of give which brings his stamina into play and I am leaning towards aiming him at the Neptune Hurdle rather than the Supreme.

"I am sure he would get the longer trip and be comfortable at that speed before quickening, whereas I am concerned they might get him at it too soon in the Supreme, though we will decide after his next run."

Puffin Billy is likely to make his next appearance at Haydock on Saturday January 19, Sherwood added, although he also has the option of a race at Cheltenham's Trials Day the following weekend.

"[He] will probably still be over two miles in the Rossington Main Hurdle at Haydock, which we won with Cruising Altitude in the past, as I want him to be comfortable running at speed before Cheltenham, where they go half a gear faster than anywhere else all year," he said.

"That said, we have the option of stepping him up to 2m4f at Cheltenham’s trials meeting later this month."

To read Oliver Sherwood's thoughts on his exciting string, pick up a copy of the Weekender - available to buy from Wednesday

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