• Racing/
  • Puffin Looks A Rare Bird

Mitie Kennel Gate Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m

  • (4yo+, 2m, Class 1, 4 runners)
  • Winner £17,085 2nd £6,411 3rd £3,210 4th £1,599 5th £804 6th £402
  • Going: Heavy, Soft in places
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 4m 7.30s
  • Off time: 13:55:51
  • Last Updated: December 21 2012, 14:31 GMT

Puffin Billy extended his winning run to four with an effortless display in the Mitie Kennel Gate Novices' Hurdle at Ascot.

Puffin Billy: An effortless winner at Ascot
Puffin Billy: An effortless winner at Ascot

Oliver Sherwood's four year old has looked a hugely exciting prospect in winning two bumpers and a maiden hurdle at Newbury and did nothing to dispel that impression with his success in the Grade Two contest.

Held-up last of the four runners, he made one notable mistake on the far side but eased up to join leader Up To Something on the turn for home.

Barry Geraghty was motionless in the saddle and content to let the four year old race alongside his rival over the last two flights.

Having safely negotiated the last, Geraghty gave his mount a nudge and the 4/9 favourite scooted clear without appearing to have to work for his lead and the winning margin of five lengths did little to reflect his superiority.

"I wanted to get another run into him, and it was either here or Kempton on Boxing Day, which was the only other race for him to go for," said Sherwood.

"I don't want him to have too many races on heavy ground, I think he'll go on anything, and he will probably have one more run at the end of January or the beginning of February.

"He'll have entries in both the two-mile (Supreme) and two-and-a-half (Neptune) at Cheltenham and it will depend on the ground."

Sky Bet cut the winner to 11/1 from 16s for the Supreme Novices' at the Cheltenham Festival and 12/1 for the Neptune Management Investment Novices' Hurdle with spokesman Michael Shinners commenting: "He won as he should have done and, although very impressive, he will face much sterner tests further down the line."

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