Saturday 14 December 2019

Hall back to form in Meld

Parish Hall may not be the force he was in his two-year-old days but he remains a horse to be reckoned with just below the top class and won the Group Three Meld Stakes at the Curragh for Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning.

Victorious in the Dewhurst Stakes of 2011, he was forced to miss his whole Classic year and while he returned to action with a win at four, he has not quite reached the heights that were once expected of him.

Sent off the 11-8 favourite in the four-runner field, Manning always looked confident and although Pat Smullen gave Afternoon Sunlight every chance from the front, the three-year-old filly could not hold off her elder counterpart and went down by half a length.

Manning said: "He's done it well and handled the ground and got the trip well.

"I wasn't sure where the pace was going to come from but I knew he had a turn of foot so I just got him settled and followed the pace.

"My instructions were to drop him in and arrive late."

Una Manning, who had spoken on the phone to her father, Bolger, said: "He said (Bolger) he'll stick to 10 furlongs and feels that it is only this year that he is getting over his injury. We can now hope for better things.

"He said he settled well today but he hasn't decided what's next, the plan was to get him back on a winning note. We'll just see what there is."

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