Classic end to Double dream

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The Independent Online
For Mark Johnston, victory with Double Trigger in today's Gold Cup would cap a remarkable week after his success with Bijou D'Inde in the first of Royal Ascot's three Group One races, the St James's Palace Stakes, on Tuesday.

Double Trigger has an outstanding chance of notching a second success at the highest level this week for his Middleham-based trainer. He was a comfortable five-lengths winner of this event last year and went on to become only the fourth horse this century to land the stayers' triple crown. And he has shown no sign of waning powers this year, putting up a top-notch performance in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown and scoring easily by seven lengths.

But while he dominates the stayers' division, the suspicion remains that he could be vulnerable to a top-class horse with proven middle-distance form. Step up Classic Cliche (3.45), last year's St Leger winner, whose Yorkshire Cup success last time has been made to look very useful by the subsequent Group One success of the runner-up, Strategic Choice.

Magnificient Style will be a short price for the Ribblesdale Stakes and the Nijinsky filly Ninotchka (2.30), from a stable with a fine record in this race, is preferred. Atraf (4.20) is another improving sort likely to start at double-figure odds who can upset calculations in the Cork and Orrery Stakes.

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