sport

Puffin camp welcome Ascot slog

Oliver Sherwood is unfazed by the prospect of testing conditions at Ascot on Friday as Puffin Billy puts his unbeaten record on the line.

The four-year-old, who was twice victorious in bumpers, made the perfect start to his career hurdles at Newbury at the end of November, and now tests his powers at Grade Two level against just three rivals in the Mitie Kennel Gate Novices' Hurdle.

Sherwood said: "I'm not worried about the ground.

"He handled testing conditions at Fontwell on his first run and I would rather the ground was like it is than drying out ground.

"The race has cut up, probably because of the ground, and this is the next step up the ladder for him.

"I'd imagine it's going to be a tactical affair, but he's in great order and he schooled well this morning."

The 130-rated Meganisi is probably Puffin Billy's main threat in the two-mile contest, with Bathcounty and Up To Something rounding off the field.