Buick an eyecatching booking for Gallant Lion at Sandown today

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June 14

We enjoyed a flying start to June, with three winners in the first few days, and, though we’ve had three beaten favourites in the last week, there have still been some encouraging runs elsewhere, so, hopefully, we can get back on the winning road today, when we have fancied runners at Sandown and Market Rasen.

William Buick does not ride too many for Alan, but the champion jockey tells me that he enjoys getting the call from Barbury as he knows it will almost certainly be for a fancied one.

Therefore, it might be significant that Alan has booked William for Gallant Lion at Sandown. A four-time winner for Tony Carroll last summer, with one of those victories being over this course and distance when ridden by Buick, Gallant Lion impressed Alan when finishing third on his first run for Barbury at Newbury in April.

Gallant Lion returned to our local course last month and started favourite, but he found his path blocked early in the straight and had to be switched to get a run, so, though eventually finishing sixth, he was only beaten two and a half lengths and would surely have been in the frame at least granted a trouble-free passage. He will again be market-leader but looks to have a solid chance.

Other runner is Hall Lane at Market Rasen’s evening meeting. He won over hurdles at Wetherby and was runner-up in his first run over fences over this course last November, He has been placed in two of his subsequent four runs over the larger obstacles, and, though he is second-favourite behind Sedgefield winner Leading Force, he, too, ought to be competitive again.

We have five runners tomorrow, split between Sandown on the Flat and Uttoxeter over jumps. Brioni, who has twice been placed on the Esher slopes, ran his first disappointing race at Newbury last time, but the writing was on the wall early on when he ran too free. That blip is best forgotten, and Brioni remains one of our most highly-regarded three-year-olds. Jamie Spencer again takes the ride.

Dance The Moon would also look to have a decent chance in the mares bumper at the Staffordshire course. Alan was delighted how well she shaped when finishing fourth on her debut in a Newbury bumper in December.

Alan said:”Dance The Moon travelled really well through much of that race, and it was just a pity that the course was hit with so much rain before racing as it meant that she did not quite get home in the testing conditions. She will stick to bumpers for the time being, but she has shown us that she has plenty of pace so she could go down the Flat route later.”