Horses To Follow » Parish Hall

Parish Hall

Parish Hall had been beaten three times out of three since winning his maiden on his debut over six furlongs at Leopardstown back in April, including when finishing well behind Power in the Phoenix Stakes, and he did start at 20/1 for the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday, but it would be unwise to underestimate his performance in beating off Power and Most Improved. He had the pace to lie up handily, he travelled well, and he stuck on gamely all the way to the line. Power did finish well after losing momentum when he had to be switched out to the centre of the track, but Parish Hall ran right to the line, and was pulling away from Most Improved close to the finish, Brian Meehan’s colt having loomed up looking a likely winner inside the final furlong.

It looks like Jim Bolger’s colt is still under-rated after this. Kevin Manning did manage to bag the rail two furlongs out as Spiritual Star weakened out of it, and Power was probably a little unlucky, but only a little, and Parish Hall should be even better stepped up in trip. His form before this was good, better than it appears on the surface. He stayed on the far side of the track on easy ground in the home straight at Leopardstown in the Group 3 Tyros Stakes on his second start, while all the others came down the middle to near side, which is where you want to be at Leopardstown on easy ground, yet he still managed to finish second to Remember Alexander with Tenth Star, second in the Royal Lodge Stakes two weeks ago on his only subsequent run, back in third. The ground would have been against Parish Hall there, as it was in the Phoenix Stakes next time, when the drop back to six furlongs was against him as well, and he showed he is better than that with his run in the Futurity Stakes at The Curragh, back up to seven furlongs, when he finished second to Dragon Pulse.

He had a seven-week break before Saturday’s run and, perhaps crucially, this was the first time that he had encountered proper fast ground since his maiden win. The fact that he was given over three months off following his maiden win and brought back for the Group 3 Tyros Stakes, a race Bolger won with New Approach and Teofilo en route to Dewhurst success, gives an indication of the regard in which he has always been held by Jim Bolger.

A son of the aforementioned Teofilo, he was done for pace by Dragon Pulse in the Futurity Stakes on his previous run, but he stayed on well to get the better of Astrology for second place close home, with subsequent Beresford Stakes winner David Livingston back in fourth. That being the case, it was encouraging that he was able to hold a prominent position here on this quicker ground. He seems to have done well for his short break and there is every reason to expect more improvement in time and with a further step up in trip. Teofilo is by Galileo out of a dam who won over a mile, while Parish Hall’s dam, Halla Siamsa, was a 10-furlong winner, and there are hurdle winners in the pedigree, so Parish Hall should improve for stepping up in trip next season. Having now won the Dewhurst, the renowned two-year-old championship race, Parish Hall is a leading player for the Derby at present. The fact that the first five finished within a length and a half of each other, and that the race was run in a slower time than the Rockfel Stakes, has led many to question the merit of the performance, but there is much more to come from Parish Hall once he steps up in trip. It is possible that, next year, when he races over middle distances, the wonder will be that he had the pace to win over seven furlongs as a juvenile, and remember that Bolger won the Dewhurst with New Approach in 2007 before he won the Derby the following year.

8th October 2011