Bear Ghylls' return to the track has Nicky Martin excited about what is to come

Nicky Martin is delighted with Bear Ghylls after he returned from a 592-day absence with a third-placed Colin Parker run.

The gelding was a taking 19-length bumper winner as a five-year-old and then went on to enjoy a successful hurdling campaign during the 2020-21 season.

Winning three successive contests by fair margins, Bear Ghylls then finished fourth behind Bob Olinger in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2021.

Injury then sidelined him for a long spell, and at Carlisle on Sunday the horse made a long-awaited comeback in another strong renewal of the Listed Colin Parker Memorial - a first run over fences.

Nigel Twiston-Davies' Beauport was a convincing winner of the race, but Bear Ghylls made a pleasing return to action in third place under James Bowen.

A mistake at the second seemed to sharpen up his jumping and he was fluent on the whole, jumping the last carefully when tiring on soft ground that was quickly deteriorating.

"I'm absolutely delighted, obviously we all want to go and win but he showed the ability is still there and he hasn't lost it," Martin said.

"He came out of the race fine, James said to me that he just got tired between two out and one out because the ground had gone too heavy.

"Obviously he had two years off so he tried to showjump the last to just get him home.

"I'm ecstatic about it, I think him making a mistake at the second was a good thing because he realised they weren't going to fall down like hurdles do.

"I think the dream is still alive with him, he needed the run and it was a big ask - I don't think he let me down really."

Martin is now searching for a next outing for the gelding, who is likely to be run over the same two-mile four-furlong trip before a step up is considered further down the line.

"I was looking on the way home I was looking and I thought 'oh there's a nice novice at Newbury', then Nigel Twiston-Davies says about the winner 'I might take him to Newbury!'," she said.

"We'll look for something for him, he's had a day in the field so we'll get going again and see where we are but he's very well and seems quite fresh.

"We will probably go for the same trip again, the ultimate aim is to get to three miles, whether we leave it to the end of the season, I think he is a three-miler."

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