Motivator – 10 years on!

It’s amazing to think that it is 10 years ago that the Michael Bell-trained Motivator landed Flat racing’s biggest prize in the Epsom Derby. How time flies!

But, despite not winning again, Motivator has not trotted off into the sunset quietly.

From his brilliant career to siring arguably one of the greatest mares we have ever seen, we take a look back at the highlights of the star’s brilliant racing life.

22 February 2002

Out of the mare Out West and sired by the now ill-fated super sire Montjeu, a handsome bay colt with a white star was born at Deerfield Farm near Newmarket – later to be named Motivator.

8 October 2003

Sent to the ring to be sold at Tattersalls, John Warren, on behalf of the Royal Ascot Racing Club, was the highest bidder when the hammer went down at 75,000 guineas.

In hindsight, the sale turned out to be a bargain!

JOhn Warren

13 August 2004

Put into training with Michael Bell, Motivator was sent into battle for the first time at Newmarket in an 11-runner maiden contest.

Taking up the lead in the final furlong, the future star cruised clear of his rivals to record a six-length demolition.

23 October 2004

Following on from his Rowley Mile romp, the star juvenile notched up Group 1 success on only his second start.

Under multiple Champion Jockey Kieren Fallon, Motivator took control of the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster to win in impressive fashion.

His performance made him the second favourite for the 2005 Derby behind Godolphin’s Dubawi.

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12 May 2005

After bypassing the 2000 Guineas, Motivator was sent to York to test his Derby credentials on his seasonal reappearance. He delivered.

Despite hanging to the right, Bell’s talented colt won comfortably under his new rider Johnny Murtagh to score by one and a half lengths.

He was now the outright favourite for the Derby.

4 June 2005

The big day arrived. With a reasonable weight of expectation on his shoulders, the unbeaten Motivator went into stall five as the favourite for the biggest race in the world.

Settling just behind the pacemaker, Murtagh chose his moment to set sail for home at the two furlong pole. The pair didn’t look back.

Stretching clear of his rivals at the line, Bell’s superstar registered a comfortable five-length Derby victory.

2 July 2015

At odds of 2/5, anything but a comfortable success was expected of the British Classic champion.

Keen early on, the hallmarks for a potential upset were on the cards right from the start.

Aidan O’Brien’s Oratorio claimed the scalp of the short-priced favourite by half a length and would do so again by the same margin two months later in the Irish Champion Stakes.

2 October 2005

The final swansong. Bidding to win again since his Epsom Derby victory, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe was another step too far.

Finishing fifth, four and a quarter lengths behind Hurricane Run, Motivator bowed out in defeat at Longchamp. A future career as a stallion lay ahead.

14 February 2006

Motivator started his new career as a stallion for Her Majesty The Queen at the Royal Studs at Sandringham near Norfolk. His fee was £5,000.


11 September 2009

Pollenator became Motivator’s first Group winner, after the Richard Hannon Snr-trained filly won the May Hill Stakes at Doncaster by half a length.

7 October 2012

Ridasiyna won the Prix de l’Opera at Longchamp giving Motivator his first Group 1 win as a sire, seven years after retiring from the track.

6 October 2013

The Criquette Head-Maarek-trained Treve, daughter of Motivator, romped to a comfortable success in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe under Thierry Janet.

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5 October 2014

Astonishingly, after a difficult campaign, Motivator’s daughter Treve wins back-to-back Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe contests, becoming the first horse to do so since Alleged in 1978.