Motivator On Target for Breeders' Cup Turf

Newmarket trainer Michael Bell has told the English Press Association that Classic winner Motivator is on course for the $2 million John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Belmont Park on Oct. 29.

Connections of the Vodafone Derby (Eng-I) winner had been considering a possible run at the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes (Eng-I) at Newmarket on Oct. 15. Bell told PA, "He's going to run in the Breeders' Cup."

Motivator, a son of Montjeu, has run well in three subsequent tries following his win at Epsom, but has failed to win. He finished second in the Coral-Eclipse (Eng-I) and Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I) and fifth in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) Oct. 2.

"We have done research on horses that have run in the Arc and then gone on to the Champion Stakes and they have a very poor record," Bell said. "We feel the tactical speed he has will stand him in very good stead in Belmont. And, although the horse looks to have taken the Arc extremely well, to run 13 days later in back-to-back group I (races) is a big ask. It gives us more time and we can get his training routine organized and head to Belmont for the Turf."

Regular rider Johnny Murtagh may struggle to make the weight in America, Bell acknowledged.

"There is a slight fly in the ointment in that (Murtagh's) only got 8stone 9pound (121 pounds) so we haven't really crossed that bridge yet. If you are riding at that weight you've got to be comfortable at it. It's very hard to be travelling halfway round the world and riding two pounds below your minimum weight."

Motivator led the Arc with more than a furlong left but could not hold on in the final stages. Bell said Motivator has taken his trip to France in his stride. "He's been in great form. He's just being doing one canter a day, but he's healthy and well."

Coral quotes Motivator at 10-1 for the Turf with Arc winner Hurricane Run the 2-1 favorite.