British female trainer Nicky Martin is still full of optimism when it comes to her stable star Bear Ghylls, who has not come back from his injury setback in the same form as the year before, but the handler thinks she has got him spot on again now.
A superb horse for the yard over the last few seasons, he made his debut in a bumper back in March 2020 when beating the talented Guard Your Dreams by 19 lengths.
Sent hurdling in October 2020, he made a good start at Lingfield when winning easily and then at Ffos Las next time out he made it 3/3 seeing off Gowel Road under a penalty.
Sent into Handicap company at Exeter he was a five length winner and off the back of that was moved massively up in grade to contest the Grade One Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival.
Running a superb race at the 2021 festival he was fourth behind Bob Olinger, Gaillard Du Mesnil and Bravemansgame.
Picking up a setback since that run he was was not seen form almost 18 months when returning over fences at Carlisle at the back end of October and making his chase debut he finished a superb third in the Listed Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase, just getting tired late on.
Looking to build on that run he looked to bounce with the second run coming only three weeks after his first run and Martin thinks he ran him too soon.
Set to have him back to where she wants him, his trainer is still full of hope he can turn into the horse over fences this season they always thought he could.
(Credit ATR) She said: “He’s back in really good form again now and same as the Twiston-Davies horse (Beauport was beaten next time out), I think we ran too soon. The race was a lot harder than I thought it was and he was very flat for the week after the race, but he’s back on form now.
“I genuinely thought the three weeks (between Carlisle and Uttoxeter) was enough, I thought he was fresh enough but Carlisle clearly took more out of him than we originally thought.
“He’d been so flat and then last week I was driving behind him on the drive and he was bucking and bucking and I thought ‘Ok you are back feeling well again now’.
“I think the horse is in seriously good order. I don’t know for certain, but I think he’s still the horse he was because he ran well enough at Carlisle to say he is. I’m just putting Uttoxeter down to my mistake for running him too soon.”
Asked about where Bear Ghylls’ next outing would be she added: “There’s a few options around New Year. I may put him in a handicap just to make his life slightly easier. I would like to find an easier run if I can rather than put him in against all the big guns.
“I’ll probably go back to two and a half miles even though I think he is a three miler – I just want to try and get his nose in front, for him to have a good time and not put too much pressure on him. Obviously the two years off has taken it’s toll a little bit. We’ll find something.”