Bear Ghylls is set to head straight to the Cheltenham Festival after trainer Nicky Martin admitted defeat in her bid to get another run into her stable star.
A 19-length winner of a bumper at Warwick last March, the six-year-old has continued in the same vein this season by completing a hat-trick of wins over hurdles.
Martin’s plan to give her charge a first outing at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day last month was scuppered by a waterlogged track, while the same issue ruled out an intended outing in Thursday’s Sidney Banks Memorial Novices’ Hurdle at Huntingdon.
And with the showpiece meeting in the Cotswolds now less than five weeks away, the Minehead-based trainer has decided to bite the bullet and prepare her charge for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle without the aid of another outing.
Martin said: “I think we’re going to go straight to Cheltenham now, simply because this weekend was my last hope (of running beforehand).
“We wanted to go to Huntingdon, but that has been abandoned. There’s nothing else for him really as if we wait any longer, it will all be getting too close to the Festival.
“I could send him away to do a bit of schooling next week at Henrietta Knight’s or somewhere like that, and then we can try to get a racecourse gallop in. That’s all we can do really.
“The one good thing is I know this horse needs to be fresh – he really needs five weeks between his races, as far as I’m concerned.
“He’s a big, raw horse and I was worried when we went to Exeter it was only 20 days since his last race.
“If you’re going to go for a big race at Cheltenham, I’d much rather he went fresh than three weeks after his last run or whatever.”