Double Trigger

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Double Trigger
Double Trigger.jpg
Bronze statue of Double Trigger at Doncaster Racecourse
DamsireGay Lussac
BreederDene Investments
OwnerR W Huggins
TrainerMark Johnston
Record29: 14-2-1
Major wins
Zetland Stakes 1993
St Leger Italiano 1994
Sagaro Stakes 1995, 1996
Henry II Stakes 1995, 1996
Ascot Gold Cup 1995
Doncaster Cup 1995, 1996, 1998
Goodwood Cup 1995, 1997, 1998
Top European Stayer 1995
Last updated on June 22, 2007

Double Trigger (foaled 24 March 1991) is a retired Thoroughbred racehorse and active sire. He was bred in Ireland, but trained in the United Kingdom throughout his racing career, which lasted from 1993 to 1998. A specialist stayer, he is best known for winning twelve group races, including the Stayers' Triple Crown in 1995.


Double Trigger was bred in Ireland, a son of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Ela-Mana-Mou. His dam was the French-bred mare Solac, who also produced Double Trigger's full brother, the top-class stayer Double Eclipse.[1] He was trained throughout his career by Mark Johnston in North Yorkshire. His most regular jockey was Jason Weaver, who rode him in 21 of his 29 starts. He was an easily recognisable horse, being a light chestnut with a broad white blaze and a front-running racing style.[2]

Racing career[edit]

1993-1994:early career[edit]

Double Trigger showed himself to be a promising horse from the start, following a ten-length win in a Redcar maiden in September 1993 with a victory in the Listed Zetland Stakes at Newmarket a month later.[3]

His three-year-old career was delayed by injury problems, but when he did re-appear, he was immediately tested at the highest level. A fifth place in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York was followed by a third in the St. Leger Stakes. He then embarked on a brief international campaign, "easily"[4] winning the St Leger Italiano (then a Group 3 race) and finishing seventh of fourteen to Red Bishop in the inaugural Hong Kong Vase.[5]

1995:four-year-old Season[edit]

Although Double Trigger was obviously Group class over middle-distances, his connections realised that he had the stamina for longer distances, and he was campaigned accordingly from then on.

In 1995 he was a Champion Stayer, winning the Sagaro and Henry II Stakes in spring before taking the Stayers' Triple Crown of the Ascot, Goodwood and Doncaster Cups. Although his best performance was probably at Ascot, where he beat the St Leger winner Moonax by five lengths,[6] his Goodwood triumph was even more notable, as he prevailed by a neck over his full brother Double Eclipse[7] in a "thrilling" finish. Johnston called it "a hell of a performance."[8]

At the end of the season he was sent to Australia, where he went off 7-2 favourite for the Melbourne Cup under top weight of 9 stone 7 pounds. He ran very poorly and finished seventeenth of the twenty runners.[9] Tests carried out after the race revealed no signs of "doping" and Johnston admitted that the performance was "a mystery".[10]

1996-1998:later career[edit]

Double Trigger was never quite so dominant again, but he continued to produce in top-class performances for the next three years. In 1996 he recorded his second win in the Henry II Stakes after being pushed along all the way and catching Grey Shot close to the finish.[11] He added a repeat victory in the Sagaro Stakes,[12] but was beaten by Classic Cliche in the Ascot Gold Cup. He had been affected by a hoof injury before the Ascot race, and the problem recurred, ruling him out of the Goodwood meeting. He returned in September to beat Celeric in the Doncaster Cup showing, according to Greg Wood writing in the Independent, "all his famous swagger and resolution" .[13]

His 1997 campaign was his least successful and he began with two of his worst performances, finishing unplaced in both the Sagaro Stakes and the Gold Cup (won by Celeric), leading some to conclude that he was no longer a threat in major races.[14] He did, however, produce one excellent performance to win his second Goodwood Cup,[15] setting a "fierce pace" from the start and beating Classic Cliche by one and a half lengths.[14]

In his final year (1998) he proved almost as good as ever, narrowly failing to defeat Kayf Tara in the Ascot Gold Cup, before adding a third win in the Goodwood Cup. In his final start he led from the start in what Johnston described as "classical Double Trigger" style, and stayed on to hold off the late challenge of Busy Flight and win a third Doncaster Cup.[16] The horse received an enthusiastic reception from his home crowd and his trainer praised him, saying "Over two miles at his best, Double Trigger is one of the best there has been".[17]

A plan to run in the Prix du Cadran was abandoned and was then retired to stud.

Major wins[edit]

Date Race Dist (f) Course Class Prize (£K) Odds Runners Margin Runner-up Time Jockey Trainer
10 September 1998 Doncaster Cup 18 Doncaster 3 20 9-4 6 1 Busy Flight 3:50.92 Darryll Holland Mark Johnston
12 September 1996 Doncaster Cup 18 Doncaster 3 19 Evens 6 2 Celeric 3:53.00 Frankie Dettori Mark Johnston
7 September 1995 Doncaster Cup 18 Doncaster 3 21 4-11 6 3 Further Flight 3:58.74 Jason Weaver Mark Johnston
30 July 1998 Goodwood Cup 16 Goodwood 2 40 11-2 9 0.75 Canon Can 3:29.19 Darryll Holland Mark Johnston
31 July 1997 Goodwood Cup 16 Goodwood 2 38 16-1 10 1.5 Classic Cliche 3:24.81 Michael Roberts Mark Johnston
27 July 1995 Goodwood Cup 16 Goodwood 2 36 2-1 9 Neck Double Eclipse 3:25.86 Jason Weaver Mark Johnston
27 May 1996 Henry II Stakes 16 Sandown 3 25 5-6 5 7 Assessor 3:41.15 Jason Weaver Mark Johnston
29 May 1995 Henry II Stakes 16 Sandown 3 25 5-4 7 6 Old Rouvel 3:33.01 Jason Weaver Mark Johnston
1 May 1996 Sagaro Stakes 16 Ascot 3 25 11-8 7 Head Grey Shot 3:27.64 Jason Weaver Mark Johnston
3 May 1995 Sagaro Stakes 16 Ascot 3 25 9-2 7 Head Poltarf 3:28.90 Jason Weaver Mark Johnston
22 June 1995 Gold Cup 20 Ascot 1 111 9-4 7 5 Moonax 4:20.25 Jason Weaver Mark Johnston
4 November 1994 Leger Italiano 15 Turin 3 30 11-8 6 3.5 Michel Georges 3:20.80 Jason Weaver Mark Johnston
30 October 1993 Zetland Stakes 10 Newmarket Listed 8 3-1 10 1.5 Barbaroja 2:07.84 Jason Weaver Mark Johnston


Double Trigger won the Cartier Racing Award for Top European Stayer in 1995. He was given a rating of 123 by Timeform.

He has been honoured with a bronze statue at Doncaster Racecourse.[18]

Assessing Double Trigger in the Racing Post Tony Morris wrote

Stud career[edit]

Like many stayers, Double Trigger struggled to attract top quality mares at stud. He has had some success with jumpers, his most notable winner being Russian Trigger, winner of the Midlands Grand National.[20] He remains an active stallion standing alongside the 2000 Champion Two-Year-Old Tobougg at Clarendon Farm, Wiltshire.[21]


Pedigree of Double Trigger (IRE), chestnut stallion, 1991[22]
Ela-Mana-Mou (IRE)
Petingo Petition
Border Bounty Bounteous
B Flat
Rose Bertin
High Hat Hyperion
Wide Awake Major Portion
Wake Island
Solac (FR)
Gay Lussac
Fabergé Princely Gift
Spring Offensive
Green As Grass Red God
Orvieto Machiero
Fior d'Orchidea
Savigny Mistral
Sernaglia (Family: 19-b)


In September 1999, train operator Great North Eastern Railway named locomotive 91022 at Doncaster railway station after the horse.[23]


  1. ^ "Double Trigger pedigree". Retrieved 2011-09-03.
  2. ^ Armytage, Marcus (2011-07-26). "Why Mark Johnston and his horses love the Sussex course". Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-09-03.
  3. ^ "Zetland Stakes". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-09-03.
  4. ^ "St Leger Italiano". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-09-03.
  5. ^ "Hong Kong Vase". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-09-10.
  6. ^ "Gold Cup 1995". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-09-03.
  7. ^ "Goodwood Cup 1995". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-09-03.
  8. ^ "Johnston shouts home his Double take". The Independent. 1995-07-28. Retrieved 2011-09-10.
  9. ^ "Melbourne Cup". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-09-10.
  10. ^ "No dope found in Trigger". The Independent. 1995-11-17. Retrieved 2011-09-10.
  11. ^ "Trigger back on winning trail after walkabout". The Independent. 1996-05-02. Retrieved 2011-09-10.
  12. ^ "Doncaster Cup 1996". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-09-03.
  13. ^ "Johnston is still not Trigger happy". The Independent. 1996-09-13. Retrieved 2011-09-10.
  14. ^ a b "Double Trigger primed to claim distinction". The Independent. 1997-09-11. Retrieved 2011-09-10.
  15. ^ "Goodwood Cup 1997". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-09-03.
  16. ^ "Doncaster Cup 1998". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-09-03.
  17. ^ "Trigger clicks in passing-out parade". The Independent. 1998-09-11. Retrieved 2011-09-10.
  18. ^ "Double Trigger website". Archived from the original on 2001-04-06. Retrieved 2011-08-28.
  19. ^ "Double Trigger profile". Double Trigger. Archived from the original on 2011-09-30. Retrieved 2011-09-03.
  20. ^ "Double Trigger stud record". Retrieved 2011-08-28.
  21. ^ "Double Trigger at stud". Retrieved 2011-08-28.
  22. ^ "Double Trigger". 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2012-07-02.
  23. ^ GNER names Double Trigger Rail issue 366 22 September 1999 page 6