Lion by a neck
By John Scanlon
The seventh winner of the yard’s January campaign came at Wolverhampton on January 28, when The British Lion won a seven furlong handicap at Wolverhampton.
John Brown and Megan Dennis’ four-year-old gelding, a half-brother to their Group 1 winner The Last Lion, was having his fourth run since returning from a break of over four months in November.
A winner at Newcastle last January, the Power gelding had been tried at a variety of distances but has struggled to return to winning form. Eased a little in the handicap, he faced 10 rivals at Wolverhampton and was ridden by Joe Fanning.
Gabriel The Tiger set out to make the running. The British Lion was drawn in the middle of the field, and in the early stages Joe Fanning settled the gelding in fifth. Approaching the final bend, Joe sent The British Lion to challenge on the outside of the leaders, and straightening up for home the gelding eased into the lead. Running on well, The British Lion pulled a length clear of his field in a move which sealed the win, though Grey Destiny’s late surge on the outer saw the winning margin reduced to a neck at the line, with The King’s Steed a similar distance back in third.
This was a second career win for The British Lion, one of nine winners out of his remarkable dam, the Brief Truce mare Mala Mala, who finished third in both the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and the Cheveley Park Stakes way back in 2000.
Picture: The British Lion under Niamh O’Brien