Media Centre

Long Hill - Newmarket

Michael Bell's three Motivator two-year-olds work up Long Hill

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker  

Motivator: has the qualities to excel at stud

A GROUP 1 winner at two, a Classic winner and a champion at three, Motivator, a son of the then exciting new stallion Montjeu, retired to stud in 2005 with all the right credentials for establishment as a middle-distance sire.

After a two-year-old season which yielded two victories from two starts - a six length maiden victory at Newmarket and an easy two and a half length success in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy - Motivator went into winter quarters the ante-post favourite for the Derby.

The Michael Bell-trained colt came out the following season in fine fettle, taking the Dante, the strongest Derby trial, on his first start. The manner of his victory caused some post-race debate as whether the speedy first-crop son of Montjeu should have instead taken in the Guineas  en route to Epsom.

After the Dante, though Motivator'sprice shortened further for the Blue Riband, questions were asked as to whether he would act on faster surface as his three-race unbeaten record had been garnered on soft going, whether he possessed too much speed for the mile and a half trip or whether his slightly buzzy Montjeu temperament would let him down during the pre-race preliminaries.

At Epsom, and after being saddled slightly away from the parade ring area, Motivator tossed aside those fears proving that he not only possessed speed but also stamina as, two furlongs from home, he quickened right away to win the Derby by five lengths from Walk In The Park, another son of Montjeu.

Next time out in the Eclipse saw Oratorio, the Derby tenth, beat his Epsom conqueror by two and a half lengths, Motivator disappointing in a race run at a muddling pace, causing him to do too much early on, and run on the quickest surface he had yet encountered. Jockey Johnny Murtagh said post-race that the horse had not acted well on the faster ground.

Motivator was put away then until September and the Irish Champion Stakes, a race in which Oratorio once again held sway by a half-length, before a run in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. The first three-year-old home, he finished a fine fifth, beaten four and quarter lengths by another son of Montjeu, Hurricane Run.

A trip to the US for a run in the Breeders' Cup was on the cards until he picked up an injury in training, causing immediate retirement to the Royal Studs, a move that had been announced before his run in the Arc. Motivator ended his racing career as the year's champion English three-year-old.

Syndicated in the traditional manner into 50 shares, he covered 79 mares in his first year at stud, a curtailed number due to a back injury caused when slipping in the paddock in the late spring. Of those mares, 27 per cent were black-type performers, a percentage which rose to 37per cent last season. The number of black-type-winning mares to visit him has also increased through his three covering season to date, numbering 26 in 2008.

His first-crop foals were well received by the market posting an average of 71,500gns for five foals sold and that crop went on to achieve a 54,385gns yearling average (25 sold), with a highest-priced given for the son of Model Queen, now named Hot Prospect and in training with Michael Jarvis. He fetched 230,000gns, and in all five yearlings broke the six-figure barrier, with 12 making more than 50,000gns.

The average posted by his 2008 foals dropped sharply to below 10,000gns, although only ten were offered of which five sold.
Unsurprisingly, hehas not yet had a runner and few of his progeny hold imminent entries, though eight of of his two-year-olds hold early entries for the 2010 Derby.

“I’m lucky enough to have three and if they are anything like the others by him, I’d say that Motivator is going to be a very good sire. They’re all good movers, well-balanced types and they’re slightly ahead of schedule.
“I have the Chesham in the back of my mind for Prompter. He still has got to come through several bits of work but he’s mature and could be out at the end of this month.”
Michael Bell, trainer of Activate (c Princess Manila), Montirani (c Maharani) and Prompter (c Penny Cross)

“I trained the mare, who was forward enough to win the Albany Stakes as a two-year-old at Royal Ascot. This colt is going totake more time than she did but he’s a nice sort with a good temperament.”
David Elsworth
, trainer of Duty Driven (c Duty Paid)






King's Theatre £1,208,300
Presenting £1,095,372
Beneficial £1,002,099
Oscar £951,910
Westerner £882,168
Milan £881,688
Flemensfirth £831,322
Kayf Tara £690,079
Midnight Legend £607,151
Stowaway £509,224