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Motivator's on course; Now he must do talking, Bell tells press after watching Epsom workout.


LEADING Derby fancy Motivator helped ease the tension at Michael Bell's stable when familiarising himself with Epsom in a workout at the course yesterday.

However, his trainer is looking forward to letting the Racing Post Trophy winner do the talking when he goes on trial for the Derby in the Dante Stakes at York in three weeks' time.

By then, a leading French candidate for the Derby may have emerged after it was revealed that Group 1-placed colt Walk In The Park, trained for Michael Tabor by John Hammond, was one of six colts added to the Derby at a cost of pounds 8,000 apiece at the second entry stage.

Bell declared himself ``very happy'' after watching Motivator and Johnny Murtagh travel in company with stablemate Magic Sting over ten furlongs of the Epsom track in what the trainer had been at great pains to stress was merely a canter to ``familiarise himself with the surroundings''.

``The staff are really excited and we are all like coiled springs waiting for him to run in the Dante,'' he said. ``It's got to the stage now where it's time to let the horse do the talking and, hopefully, we will see in the Dante a horse who is in the pink.''

Motivator, who is a point behind favourite Dubawi with Totesport at 6-1 for the Derby, came out of Tattenham Corner just over a length behind his companion and, after the pair passed the post matching strides, Bell said: ``I'm very happy with the way that went, but the most important thing is that Johnny was pleased with him.''

Motivator showed his characteristic knee action, but Bell added: ``He seems to handle the undulations very well, and came round Tattenham Corner okay, but obviously they will come round it a bit quicker in the Derby. That will stand him in good stead for the Dante.

``After Johnny rode him in work the other week he said to me, `You have to take this horse to Epsom to give him a taste of the place'.

``In his box he is an absolute Christian, but mentally he's a little bit electric, so I thought it was a good idea to bring him here.''

Murtagh, who will partner the son of Montjeu for the first time in a race when he runs at York, added: ``He went very well, it was a good piece of work.''

Walk In The Park, like Motivator a son of Montjeu, finished third behind Helios Quercus in the Group 1 Criterium International at Saint-Cloud last autumn.

The colt had at one time been marked down for the 2,000 Guineas, but Hammond said yesterday: ``He's had no setback, but we decided he needed further.

``We now look like going for one of the English Derby trials at either Lingfield or Chester, and this will tell us how much further down the road we go.''

Others entered for the Derby at the second stage were the Dermot Weldtrained Society Milliner, who is entered up at Naas this weekend, Excusez Moi (Clive Brittain), Gingiefly (John Dunlop), Forward Move (Richard Hannon) and Oakbridge (Alan Jarvis).


Motivator enjoys a spot of target practice at Epsom yesterday under Johnny Murtagh, swinging round Tattenham Corner behind stablemate Magic Sting (Shane Featherstonehaugh); EDWARD WHITAKER; ``We're like coiled springs'': Motivator's pensive trainer Michael Bell at the Derby press conference at Epsom yesterday; EDWARD WHITAKER
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Apr 21, 2005
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