Double disaster

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The Independent Online
DOUBLE TRIGGER'S Melbourne Cup bid is in serious doubt after his shock defeat in the Prix du Cadran here yesterday. Ron Huggins's star stayer trailed in fourth of the six runners in the two-and-a-half mile race and afterwards his disappointed trainer Mark Johnston all but ruled out the trip to Australia next month.

He said: "There are several variables which might have affected him to consider - the soft going, the horse's well-being, and the slow pace at which the race was run - and he will probably go into quarantine tomorrow night in case we do decide to go.

"It will cost us pounds 40,000 to get there, which must come into the equation. But if he is over the top, it was just as well to find out here than in Melbourne." Ladbrokes have taken Double Trigger, formerly their 5-1 favourite, out of the Cup betting.

Six lengths in front of the beaten odds-on favourite, Always Earnest and Barry Hills-trained Moonax fought a spirited battle - literally, for the bad-tempered Moonax tried to take a chunk out of his rival after being bumped in the final furlong - with victory going to the French horse by a short-head.

A few minutes later at Newmarket the Godolphin colours suffered another reverse when Flagbird lost out to Warning Shadows in the Sun Chariot Stakes after a similarly close tussle, though without the biting.

But the loudest cheers of the day, if not the season, were reserved for Hills's veteran stayer Further Flight, who set a Group-race record by winning his fifth successive Jockey Club Cup. There was a cross-channel double for Hills when another of his greys Grey Shot, under Frankie Dettori, won the Prix de Lutece.

The day at Longchamp started well for the raiders when Flemensfirth, revelling in the soft, rather sticky, ground, made every yard to beat Volochine in the Prix Dollar. It was a smart performance from Sheikh Mohammed's John Gosden-trained three-year-old, who was carrying a Group 1 penalty earned with his Prix Lupin win over the course earlier this year, and he has the $4m Dubai World Cup in March as his long-term target. He will, however, be trained for it from Newmarket.

The Sheikh's filly Russian Snows, second to Pure Grain in the Irish Oaks, scorched home for John Oxx in the Prix de Royallieu, with Luca Cumani's Noble Rose fourth in the same colours.

The three-year-old Cap Juluca made all to defy top weight of 9st 10lb by half a length from Ball Gown in Newmarket's Cambridgeshire Handicap.

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