Oratorio Collars Motivator, Wins Irish Champion

by Mary Schweitzer
Oratorio appears to have Motivator's number. In July, the Danehill colt handed Motivator his first defeat in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes (Eng-I). On Saturday, the Coolmore colt went two-for-two against the Vodafone Derby (Eng-I) winner, with a gutsy half-length victory in the $1.25 million Baileys Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I) at Leopardstown.

The win gave trainer Aidan O'Brien a group I double, with Scorpion having captured the Ladbrokes St. Leger (Eng-I) only 30 minutes beforehand.

The globetrotting filly Alexander Goldrun finished a good third after a very poor start. The O'Brien-trained Ace was fourth with defending champ Azamour, a disappointing fifth.

Plans for Oratorio's next start are undecided at this point. However, it wouldn't be surprising to seem him at Belmont Park in October for the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. I).

Oratorio made a late run down the middle of the straight to catch Motivator.

Motivator, with Kevin Darley aboard, opened up a two-length lead with 400 meters to go in the $1.25 million race. But Kieren Fallon timed his run on Eclipse (Eng-I) winner Oratorio well.

Azamour, winner of the prestigious King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes (Eng-I), made a run on the rails but came up short.

Oratorio went off at 7-1, Motivator 3-1 and Alexander Goldrun 9-1.