Racing: Trigger can go with a bang

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WHEN IT comes to the essential attributes of heroism, Double Trigger has them all. There is the track record of consistent success, with 13 wins from 28 races, all but two of which were in Pattern company. There is the money in the bank, pounds 410,000 and counting, and the flashy good looks to go with it. And, like all the best heroes, Double Trigger also has a flaw.

It seems almost spiteful to mention it as this magnificent stayer prepares to run his last race in Britain, but during a long and glorious career, Double Trigger has run deplorably badly on more than one occasion. What is particularly worrying is that the most recent example came in the Doncaster Cup 12 months ago, when Double Trigger started the odds-on favourite but finished fourth of five behind Canon Can. A repeat of that performance today, when he attempts to win the race for the third time, would be a horrible way to take his leave of British racegoers.

The finger of blame for his run 12 months ago was pointed at the car carrying Channel 4's tracking camera, which apparently drove so close to the field that Double Trigger was distracted. It might sound a little unlikely, but neither would it be a disaster if some public-spirited locals were to let the air out of its tyres at about three o'clock this afternoon.

Ideally, though, Double Trigger will do it all by himself today. "It will be more of a sad occasion than a happy one," Mark Johnston, his trainer, said yesterday. "The horse is in such fantastic form that it seems a shame to think he will be having his last race in England. Obviously we want him to go out on a high note, but it is going to be hard to come to terms with life at the yard when he isn't there."

It will be sentiment rather than common sense which sends the chestnut hero off at short odds again today, and a victory for "Trigger" should be reward enough for most punters. Those who cannot resist a bet as well, however, can be fairly sure that Double Trigger (3.10) will not let them down.

The May Hill Stakes has its drawbacks for betting purposes too, not least since Henry Cecil, who generally treats the race as a private sweepstake, does not even have a runner this afternoon. None the less, there are several fillies of immense potential in the field, including Calando and Valentine Girl, but it may be that Subito (next best 3.40), an unlucky second on her only start, offers better value.

Cecil does saddle a runner in the Park Stakes, and the likely favourite too, in Bold Fact. Over six or seven furlongs, you would expect him to win in a canter, but today's trip of a mile could stretch his stamina and he is one to oppose. His rivals, unfortunately, are quite evenly matched, but Princely Heir (2.35), from the Double Trigger stable, could be the one, while FAIR FLIGHT (2.05) is an obvious but very solid choice for the nursery.


Nap: Spanish Fern

(Doncaster 4.10)

NB: Royal Result

(Doncaster 4.40)