Racing: Bell blames pace for Motivator defeat

"He's fine," said trainer Michael Bell. "He ate up when he got home on Saturday night, he had a lead out this morning and he's none the worse for his exertions. In fact, looking at him standing in his box he doesn't look as though he had a tough race at all."

The Derby is seldom the most rigorous examination a three-year-old will face in the course of a full season and the drop back to 10 furlongs at Sandown is a difficult test. The eight who passed, most recently Mill Reef and Nashwan, all well above average Derby winners, and Bell and his team may take comfort from the fact that among those who failed were two more superior performers, Sir Ivor and Reference Point.

The last-named redeemed his reputation in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes once returned to a mile and a half and the contest, to be run at Newbury 19 days hence is the next obvious target for Motivator, who remains among its market leaders.

The date, though, is only lightly pencilled in. "We have no set plan," said Bell. "Realistically, the King George might come a bit soon. But we have yet to discuss it. The most important thing is that the horse is fine. He has no divine right to win every race he's in and I hope he has been only temporarily dethroned."

Bell is of the opinion that the uneven pace of the Eclipse Stakes, rather than the trip or the fast underfoot conditions, was the prime factor in the Royal Ascot Racing Club star's first reverse.

Motivator sprang keenly from the stalls and led through the first quarter-mile, before Hazyview took over and steadied the gallop. From then the 2-5 favourite was always going slower than ideal for Johnny Murtagh, who had his hands full of tugging, rather than taut, reins.

"I'm sure our horse is effective over a mile and a quarter," said Bell. "It's deeply disappointing he got beaten but I think it was the muddling pace as much as anything that accounted for his defeat. Give credit to the winner but I have to say had they gone a faster pace Oratorio would possibly have struggled to lay up even more. For a championship race it was a very slow time.

"The ground was possibly a factor as well but he could have been going two strides faster from a long way out and I think we might have had it in the bag. But it's so easy to be wise after the event. Hindsight is a very potent weapon."

Oratorio's victory set a statistical precedent, for never before have four different winners of Europe's four premier juvenile contests gone on to score at Group One level at three.

The Aidan O'Brien- trained son of Danehill, who took France's Grand Criterium last year, followed the examples of Dubawi (National Stakes, Irish 2,000 Guineas), Shamardal ( Dewhurst Stakes, French Guineas and Derby and St James's Palace Stakes) and Motivator (Racing Post Trophy).

The Godolphin team must now do without both Shamardal, conqueror of Oratorio at York but retired on Friday with a chipped ankle bone, and Frankie Dettori, who broke a collarbone in a ghastly fall from Celtic Mill in the opening contest at Sandown on Saturday. The Italian, the reigning champion rider, will be out of action for at least a month; Jamie Spencer is now as short as 4-6 to take the title and rather rubbed home the point by riding the first four winners at Carlisle on Saturday night.

Celtic Mill, who crashed to the ground and flipped over twice after clipping a rival's heels, was reported undamaged yesterday by trainer David Barker.

"I saw Frankie afterwards," he said, "and he was shocked and sore. But the speed it happened, I think they've both been pretty lucky. It could have been so very much worse."

At Chantilly yesterday, Mick Channon-trained Rocamadour did best of the raiders in the Prix Jean Prat in third place, beaten a nose by runner-up Starpix on the line as Turtle Bowl swept to a length victory.

The Group One circus next pitches up tomorrow at Newmarket, where last year's winner Soviet Song is among seven distaffers declared yesterday for the Falmouth Stakes on the opening day of the July meeting.

News
US comedian Bill Mahr
people
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Sport
football
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
Life and Style
The Oliver twins, Philip and Andrew, at work creating the 'Dizzy' arcade-adventure games in 1988
techDocumentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Arts and Entertainment
Krall says: 'My hero player-singer is Elton John I used to listen to him as a child, every single record
music
News
Friends for life … some professionals think loneliness is more worrying than obesity
scienceSocial contact is good for our sense of wellbeing - but it's a myth that loneliness kills, say researchers
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
News
i100
Environment
Number so freshwater mussels in Cumbria have plummeted from up to three million in the 20th century to 500,000
environment
Life and Style
Models – and musicians – on the catwalk in Dior Homme for the men’s 2015/16 fashion show in Paris
fashionAt this season's Paris shows, various labels played with the city boys' favourite
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Ashdown Group: PHP Web Developer / Website Coordinator (PHP, JavaScript)

£25000 - £28000 per annum + 25 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: PHP Web...

Recruitment Genius: Estates Projects & Resources Manager

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in London, Manchester, Br...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us