Johnston pays tribute to staying star Double Trigger

Multiple Cups winner has died aged 28.

  • Monday 24 February
  • News
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Popular stayer Double Trigger has died at the age of 28.

Trained by Mark Johnston, the son of Ela-Mana-Mou won 14 of his 29 races including the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 1995.

He also won three Goodwood Cups and three Doncaster Cups, as well as landing both the Henry II and Sagaro Stakes twice.

The Middleham handler told his official website, www.johnstonracing.com: “Double Trigger died yesterday in his paddock at John and Sarah Haydon’s Clarendon Farm in Wiltshire. He was 28 years and 11 months old. A great age for a thoroughbred horse.

“It is only a few weeks since videos were distributed on social media of him cantering around the paddock and cavorting like a young thing. He was in rude health till the end. What a way to go.

“It seems that, no matter what champions I trained or might be lucky enough to train in future, I will always be remembered more for having trained Double Trigger than for anything else. He captured the public’s imagination like no other animal that I have been associated with, and rightly so.

“He was purchased for just 7,200 Irish pounds at Goffs Orby sales in October 1992 and he went on to win 14 races (13 of them Stakes races) from 29 starts, amassing £559,102 in prize-money.

“His wins included three Goodwood Cups, three Doncaster Cups, the Ascot Gold Cup, and the Italian St Leger. He was third in the real St Leger on just his fourth career start and he also finished runner up twice in the Ascot Gold Cup.

“His career as a stallion inevitably revolved around jump racing and he didn’t scale any great heights – few, if any, stayers do these days – but it was a long and productive career at stud with the couple who kept him in his retirement.”

Jason Weaver was on board for 10 of his wins, including the Gold Cup.

“He lived to a really good age and enjoyed a great life,” said Weaver.

“He was such a great horse. We thought he was a playboy at home, always bucking and kicking and we had no idea how good he was going to be.

“He turned into one of those remarkable horses like Yeats, Stradivarius and Persian Punch – they get people excited about going to the races.

“When you talk about characters of horses, he was lovely. He never had his head out of the manger, but when you asked him he gave.

“He was just remarkable. There’s a statue of him at Doncaster now and he has a bar named after him – not many get that.

“He was special for Mark and Deirdre, for Ron Huggins (owner), for all of us. He came along at just the right time for all of us.

“You are lucky to come across a horse like him in your careers. He was lazy, but once he got going he didn’t stop.”

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