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Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Motivator worked in tremendous style this morning at Newmarket with Johnny Murtagh in the saddle.

This was the first time that Murtagh had ridden the three-year-old and, following consultations between him, trainer Michael Bell and Harry Herbert, managing director of Highclere Thoroughbred Racing which manages the unbeaten three-year-old colt for the Royal Ascot Racing Club, a change of direction has been decided upon.

The totesport Dante Stakes, the best known Derby trial, at York over an extended 10 furlongs on Thursday, May 12, is now set to be Motivator's first race of the season, rather than the Newmarket classic over a mile, the UltimatePoker.com 2000 Guineas on April 30.

Harry Herbert explained: "Motivator worked on the Summer Gallop over a mile on grass this morning with stable companion Cool Panic, a good handicapper who won recently at Doncaster, and blew past him to go six or seven lengths clear. He was extremely impressive.

"This was Motivator's first serious piece of work of the year and we wanted to get a guideline from Johnny who was keen to ride him today and has committed himself to an association throughout the season which is what we were looking for. Michael Kinane has heavy commitments elsewhere.

"Johnny got off Motivator and said that he was a horse who will take some beating in the Arc, and described him as a very serious middle-distance performer.

"We feel he is a mile and a quarter or a mile and a half horse and have sat down and decided that he will not now go for the 2000 Guineas and instead be aimed at the Dante.

"These decisions are never easy - there are so many pieces of the puzzle to fit together - but we feel it is in Motivator's best interests for his long-term career to go for a Derby trial and, if he runs well in that, tackle the Vodafone Derby which has always been his target. Not many horses win both the Guineas and the Derby.

"His physique and pedigree suggest he is a middle distance horse, though he also possesses an abundance of speed."

The Royal Ascot Racing Club has 230 members and Motivator, who won the Group One Racing Post Trophy in October, is the best horse it has owned.


As Newmarket's season gets under way with this week's Craven Meeting, the stable lads will be finding major improvements in their canteen at the racecourse stables.

Brand new tables, chairs, cutlery and crockery have transformed it, courtesy of the racecourse caterers, Letheby & Christopher. Tomorrow's "Letheby & Christopher Supports Stable Lads Canteen Maiden Fillies Stakes" acknowledges the role that the company has played.

Newmarket's Clerk of the Course, Michael Prosser, commented: "We have spent a lot of money upgrading the lads' accommodation and the stables themselves over the last three years and are delighted that Letheby & Christopher have shown their desire to support stable staff with this initiative in the canteen."

Nick Campbell, the manager of Letheby & Christopher's Newmarket operation, said: "We stand side-by-side with the racecourse and the rest of the racing industry in wanting to see the condition of stable staff facilities improved wherever possible. The catering in the canteen is non-profit making and with these improvements we are delighted to be doing something worthwhile for those who work so tirelessly in looking after the stars of our sport."

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