Puffin Billy (right): tackles fences for second time this afternoon at Ascot
PICTURE: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
HAVING got Deputy Dan’s chasing career up and running with victory at Plumpton on Monday, trainer Oliver Sherwood is aiming to repeat the trick with another of his top novice hurdlers when Puffin Billy tackles fences for the second time at Ascot.
The six-year-old, who won a Grade 2 hurdle at the track two years ago, made his first start for nearly a year last month after recovering from a life-threatening bout of colic.
Puffin Billy finished third behind decisive winner Dunraven Storm – who followed up in the Racing Post Arkle Trial at Cheltenham last week – and Sherwood is expecting the extra distance of the 2m3f Sodexo Beginners’ Chase (1.30) to play to his strengths.
He said: “He’ll appreciate the step up in trip and has won twice at the track. He had a harder race at Exeter than I’d have liked and was a bit quiet afterwards, but he’s come back to himself and has schooled well.”
Fellow Grade 2 hurdle winner Killala Quay could provide the biggest danger as he makes his chase debut for Charlie Longsdon.
The trainer said: “We’re later coming out with him than we’d have liked, but he had a bit of a setback a couple of months ago.
“There are no easy starting points but he’s in good form and has schooled well. I think he’ll make a better chaser than hurdler and in time we might step him up in trip.”
Today’s key pointer
The sire Vinnie Roe is 6/10 with his hurdling offspring at Ffos Las (+£21.25 to £1 level stakes), including 2/3 in maiden hurdle races. Vintage Vinnie goes at 12.40.
Pointer appears from Raceform Interactive
Ascot: good to soft, soft in places
Ffos Las: soft
Haydock: soft, good to soft in places
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