Double Trigger primed to claim distinction

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The Independent Online
Double Trigger has been called plenty of things over the last few seasons, including brilliant, brave and, for a month or two earlier this year, past it. But what he has never been called, officially at least, is the champion stayer, an unforgivable oversight which, even at this late stage of his career, he may yet be preparing to put right.

The Gold Cup at Ascot, the Goodwood Cup and the Doncaster Cup, a race he will attempt to win for the third successive year, figure prominently on Double Trigger's record, yet somehow or other, Mark Johnston's unmistakable chestnut cannot seem to finish a season as the top-rated stayer in training. Until his last race at Goodwood, what's more, it appeared that he never would.

Even Jason Weaver, his partner in several moving victories, abandoned Double Trigger before the Goodwood Cup, apparently convinced that his form had declined beyond recall, and it was Michael Roberts who brought him home in the classic Trigger style, setting a fierce pace which none of his rivals could survive. Roberts keeps the ride today, and it is safe to assume that there will be no major change to the tactics.

The shame for those who would like to see Double Trigger a champion is the lack of any serious opposition to him today, with Celeric, the Gold Cup winner, a particularly notable absentee. Further Flight, predictably, will have some supporters after winning for the first time this season at Chester last month, but if the favourite can reproduce his Goodwood form, he will surely go clear with at least a couple of furlongs to run.

Even a 10-length success for Double Trigger (3.10) might do little to impress the hard-nosed international handicappers, but it should at least be fun to watch.

Another hat-trick may be completed half an hour later, as Henry Cecil attempts to extend his fine record in the May Hill Stakes. Cecil has won this event 10 times, including the last two runnings with Solar Crystal and this year's Oaks winner, Reams Of Verse, while his runner today, Midnight Line, is a daughter of his 1991 May Hill winner, Midnight Air.

In the face of such compelling omens, punters have just one sensible option - to oppose Midnight Line, since her price will be unnaturally short. A short-head success at Goodwood last time might also have left its mark, and Hadayik (next best 3.40) is a fair alternative. She was two and a half lengths behind Midnight Line when making her debut, also at Goodwood, in July, but may have improved enough for the experience to frustrate Cecil's runner today.

Like Midnight Line, DECORATED HERO (nap 2.35) must give weight to the rest of the field, but he should prove good enough to do so. The fillies' nursery is daunting, although Royal Bounty (2.05) will certainly appreciate the step up in trip.