Melodic Rendezvous (5/4) ran out an impressive winner of the Bathwick Tyres Plymouth Novices' Hurdle at Exeter.
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Oliver Sherwood's Puffin Billy was sent off the 4/5 favourite after impressively winning all four career starts but it was the Grade One Tolworth Hurdle winner who prevailed in the Devon mud.
Both runners were held-up at the rear of the five runner field as High Ville took them along, with Nick Scholfield aboard the eventual winner shadowing the favourite throughout.
The pair rapidly pulled clear of the remainder as they turned into the straight with Scholfield still tracking Leighton Aspell and Puffin Billy who had raced a shade keenly early on.
A slight mistake at the second last suggested that the writing was on the wall for Puffin Billy but Scholfield waited until the last before producing his mount and Melodic Rendezvous quickened clear in good fashion when given his head.
This two mile one Listed race has been won by some smart performers in the past including My Way De Solzen, Spirit Son and Noland with the last pair going on to finish second and first respectively in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Jeremy Scott's charge was slashed to 8/1 (from 12s) for that contest by Sky Bet.
The Leeds firm also make the winner 10/1 from 20/1 for the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle and eased Puffin Billy out to 14s from 9/1 for the same contest.
"It's very deep ground. Puffin Billy is only five, we're seven and maybe a bit stronger and we've probably handled the ground better today," Scholfield told Racing UK.
"We had a plan that we might just beat Puffin Billy for speed, we thought he was more of a stayer than ours. We were looking at the two-mile (Supreme) for Cheltenham but on this showing, we've outstayed him and we are scratching our heads a bit.
"We were leaning towards the Supreme, but we'll have to wait and see what the ground is nearer the time. If it's good ground, we could look at the Neptune, but if it's soft he might go for the Supreme."
Puffin Billy was later found to have finished lame with the trainer's wife Tarnya tweeting: "Leighton was unhappy with Puffin Billy during the race today and he has been pronounced lame by vets @ExeterRaces."