Bear Ghylls’ chasing debut will wait for softer ground

Nicky Martin will wait until softer ground arrives before embarking on a novice-chasing career with the promising Bear Ghylls.

The six-year-old was last seen finishing fourth behind Bob Olinger in the Grade One Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

He was previously unbeaten in four starts, taking a bumper and then striking three times over hurdles en route to his Graded debut at Prestbury Park.

A chasing career beckons for the Bear Ghylls, although there are no firm plans as yet on where he will first be seen jumping a fence.

“We haven’t really decided at the moment – he’s just pootling along, and he needs the softer ground anyway,” said Martin.

“We’re not really rushing him, because he does need the softer ground – and he needs to go chasing.

“He’s going over a fence, and that’s always been the plan with him.”

Martin’s staying chaser The Two Amigos is likely to begin his campaign more imminently – in the Edinburgh Gin Chase at Kelso on Saturday, should the ground prove suitable.

“Providing it rains, he will be going to Kelso,” said the Exmoor trainer.

The Two Amigos ran well in several Grand National trials last season, and ended his campaign when eighth in the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter.

Similar long-distance contests will be on the agenda this year, with the gelding not yet old enough for veterans’ chases.

“As he’s got older, I wanted to do the veterans’ series with him – but he’s not 10 until January, so it’s going to be the same sort of plan this year,” added Martin.

“Anything over three miles to three and a half is perfect for him really.

“He’s in serious form – he’s a little legend.”

Both horses are usually ridden by jockey Matt Griffiths, who suffered a serious head injury in a road collision this month and remains in hospital receiving treatment.

The Two Amigos is set to return at Kelso this weekend - ground permitting
The Two Amigos is set to return at Kelso this weekend – ground permitting (Clint Hughes/PA)

The 31-year-old has ridden Bear Ghylls in each of his five starts and has also struck up a partnership with The Two Amigos, a horse Martin says requires skilful riding.

“I’m actually pulling my hair out with The Two Amigos at the minute, because I don’t know who to put on him – he is a little tricky, and there is a knack to riding him,” she said.

“I’ve been given a list of who’s available and who wants to ride him. I’m going to have to decide tomorrow – but I haven’t decided yet.

“He’s a horse that likes to think he’s in charge, and Matt knows exactly how to ride him. It is a really big shame.”

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