Jim Bolger has revealed that his hugely talented Parish Hall faces a race against time to make the Dubai World Cup on March 30.
Parish Hall proved to be one of the best of his generation when winning the Group 1 Dubai Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket in England in 2011.
The colt was forced to miss the English 2000 Guineas and Derby because of a hind leg infection and subsequently missed the whole of 2012.
Bolger, who trains in Coolcullen, Ireland, had hoped to have his charge ready for the Dubai World Cup Carnival but the four year old did not travel to the UAE with stablemates Paene Magnus, who runs at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday night, and Light Heavy.
"We are a little behind with him," Bolger told The National. "We had a slight set back just before Christmas and he missed a couple of weeks work.
"At the moment he would be only a 50-50 chance of making Dubai.
"He will be readied here. We have two all-weather tracks, a woodchip and sand, so we'll use those to get him ready for the Tapeta."
Like Parish Hall, both Paene Magnus and Light Heavy were bred by Bolger and were sired by Teofilo, the trainer's unbeaten homebred that scorched the British and Irish turf during the 2006 season.
Paene Magnus takes his chance in the Meydan Hotel Trophy, the 1,800m contest that is the second race of the six on the US$830,000 (Dh3 million) card.
The four year old faces 13 rivals on turf, and for a prominent runner has drawn well in stall four.
Paene Magnus has only raced on yielding turf at best and despite a flawless record on the all-weather of Dundalk in Ireland, is expected to improve markedly for the opportunity to race on Meydan's faster surface. "He won a Listed race last time out," Bolger said of Paene Magnus's victory in November. "He ran on the all-weather here because the turf tracks were very soft all last year due to all the rain.
"He likes a sound surface so we think he might fare better on the good turf that they have at Meydan."
For those without an intrinsic curiosity or a Classics degree, Paene Magnus translates from Latin as "Almost Great".
As the breeder, Bolger named the horse and has high hopes that he can win his first race at Meydan .
"We would be optimistic that he will improve and in time win Group races," he said.
"His name reflects what he is, and that will remain true until he wins a Group 1 race."
Bolger said that Light Heavy, who is being looked after in Dubai alongside Paene Magnus by Pat O'Donovan, ran a temperature for a few days after arrival and would be looking to run in Group-class races when ready.
Tonight's feature race is the Group 2 Cape Verdi, in which Saeed bin Suroor saddles three with Silvestre De Sousa set to partner Sajjhaa as the Al Quoz trainer's primary hope in an effort to dethrone Ali Rashid Al Raihe's First City.
Sajjhaa is joined in the mile contest by Dark Orchid, ridden by Ted Durcan, and Spellwork, who Keiren Fallon will ride.
Both lightly raced fillies were recruited to the Godolphin fold from Andre Fabre's operation in Chantilly.
"All three are working well and we expect them all to run well," the trainer said. "Sajjhaa ran three times for us in Europe last year and ran well each time.
"I expect a big run from her."
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