With his flashy looks, not to mention his admirable knack for winning, Double Trigger is a horse who could propel staying events towards the top of Flat racing's hierarchy. Indeed, he is acting like a star already. "He loves it," Jason Weaver, his jockey, said. "He walks around the paddock, ears pricked, loves it in front of the crowd, fancies himself, drags you to the start, and then he's lazy in the race."
Until he's challenged, that is. When his younger brother threatened to pass him, Double Trigger lengthened again and found the courage to hold him at bay, perhaps in answer to the yells of Mark Johnston, who trains both colts. "I was thinking halfway through that if they both got to the front I'd keep my mouth shut," he said, "but I couldn't help myself, I shouted for Trigger. He was giving a stone and a half to the other horse, and it was a hell of a performance."
Three possible targets remain for Double Trigger this season. Either the Irish St Leger or the Doncaster Cup should be well within his reach, but the final assignment, the Melbourne Cup in November, is ambitious even by Johnston's enterprising standards. Yesterday's success, in fact, might make his task at Flemington Park harder still, since the weights for the two-mile handicap have not yet been compiled. Ladbrokes rate him favourite for Australia's biggest prize at 12-1. He may not be much shorter on race day.
It was unthinkable that a European horse could win the Melbourne Cup, until Vintage Crop did just that two years ago. Likewise, a low draw in the Schweppes Golden Mile was thought an impossible handicap, until Khayrapour won yesterday's renewal from the widest stall.
Not that he had a great deal to spare, having come from almost last on the turn into the straight. Brett Doyle, riding with saddlebags of confidence after winning Wednesday's Sussex Stakes on Sayyedati, timed his challenge to the second, nosing past Realities at the last possible moment. Khayrapour too may soon need to find his passport. Brian Meehan, his trainer, expects him to move up to Group company in Germany.
Peter Chapple-Hyam saddled his third juvenile winner of the meeting when Polaris Flight inched past Mubhij in the final furlong of the Group Two Richmond Stakes, and after a slow start to the year, Manton seems sure to figure prominently in its final months. It should certainly be worth waiting for the "couple of others" which have started to please their trainer, even if we will have to work out their names for ourselves.
There will be a wait too before Vindaloo attempts again to win his 10th handicap of the season. Jimmy Harris, his trainer, saw Vindaloo finish fourth to Cherrington in the opening race - his 21st of the campaign - and decided that the gelding will now rest. In the case of the workaholic Vindaloo, though, a rest is about a fortnight, and an outing at Pontefract on 13 August is intended.
It was not so much a rest as arrest after the Richmond, when a man wearing only a G-string and an aggrieved expression streaked past the grandstand holding a placard which insisted that Ladbrokes owe him pounds 250,000. Since the bookmakers have no record of his alleged "winning" bet, his performance can only be described as cheeky.