Motivator, running for the 230-member Royal Ascot Racing Club, created history in becoming the first syndicate-owned winner of a British Classic when romping home to a brilliant five-length success in the Vodafone Derby at Epsom, England, on Saturday.
Harry Herbert, racing manager to the RARC, said: “This is all down to my brother-in-law John Warren. We’ve worked together for 17 or 18 years and it was him that picked the horse out at the sales.
“I remember this horse as a yearling and he was in the Wall boxes (at Tattersalls), which are not an easy place to see a horse so we walked him up to a flat piece of land. I remember he had this incredible head on him.
“Stoker (the Duke of Devonshire), Douglas Erskine-Crum (Ascot’s chief executive) and I sat down in 1998 having seen other racecourses put together ownership groups to see what we could do. I suggested a club with amazing facilities and almost forgot about the horses I was so excited.
“But the horses have been the catalyst for people to have a chat at the club. I remember when the facilities were finished that Stoker said it would be great to have a winner at Ascot, we got that with the Michael Bell-trained Revenue, and now this.
“This horse is very, very special and it all been made even better thanks to Michael, who has been providing twice daily updates on the horse, which I’ve passed on to all the members.”
Jockey Johnny Murtagh added: “I jumped out very well and was sitting in third coming down the hill when I couldn’t believe how easily he was going. At two out I gave him a smack and you saw what happened.
“Half a furlong out I had a sneaky peak behind but I just didn’t want to do anything too clever. It’s tricky to answer whether he is the best horse I’ve ridden but there’s a lot more to come.”
Trainer Michael Bell added: “It’s been 17 long years waiting for this moment. We’ve had a pretty good graph, not having too many bad years, but to achieve this, getting the best out of a horse of this quality, shows you haven’t necessarily got to be one of the big battalions.
“You just hope nothing is going to go wrong in the days before hand, so many little things can happen, but luckily I knew I was sitting on a very good horse who had a good jockey.
“I actually enjoyed the race. Johnny had said beforehand that he was not going to sit too handy - I was a bit concerned but wasn’t going to interfere because Johnny knows what he’s doing.
“He’d never had a crack of the whip before today but showed great acceleration when he was hit today which will stand him in great stead if he has to meet the French Derby winner in the Irish Derby.
“We haven’t discussed options for the future, and it is a committee decision and not just down to me, but my call at the moment for the autumn target is the Arc.
“A lot has been made about him being very excitable but really he is no more so than a lot of other horses, he’s by no means a nutcase. He’s only had one serious piece of work since the Dante, you couldn’t do that with many horses.
“We were worried about Johnny being suspended today, although Darryll Holland was on standby, because he had played such a huge part in the preparation - without him we would have been a bit lost.”
The Duke of Devonshire, Her Majesty’s Representative at Ascot, added: “To win a Derby is a dream for a syndicate that just has a few horses and we’ve picked the best team to be associated with them.”
Responding to the debate about the horse’s ownership, Devonshire added: “The members all knew the deal when they got involved and everyone seems to be very happy now.”
Motivator was bred by Saud Fustok at Deerfield Farm at Dullingham near Newmarket.
“He is just the same today as I remember him as a foal and yearling,” recalled Fustok. “I sent him to the sales with a reserve of 60,000gns and he fetched 75,000gns so I was delighted.
“I look at Patrick Brain’s advice and the mare went to Polish Precedent which didn’t work out and then we sent her to Montjeu. I have a yearling full-brother to Motivator and I haven’t yet decided whether to sell him later this year, I do keep some horses. The mare has been covered by Montjeu again.
“The stud was set up in 1991 and we now have 13 mares having only had 10 for a long time. I also bred High Accolade so to have produced him and a Derby winner from that number of mares is quite an achievement.”
Jockey Alan Munro hailed Walk In The Park after his mount delivered a fine run to finish second to Motivator.
Munro said: “He’s a terrific horse with a lot of ability. He’s very genuine and very competitive and he’s going to be winning Group 1s, no problem. He’s a class act.
“He gets fired up (ahead of a race) but it’s not a negative point - it’s just a characteristic. It doesn’t negate his performance.”
“I haven’t fired him out of the gate - I just let him come out. I was able to make up a lot of ground on the turn, cutting the corner. That’s where his ability to act around Epsom has really helped - he was able to around the rail.
“Then he was switched out and he really kicked but there was one I couldn’t catch.”
John Hammond, who trains Walk In The Park, added: “He ran well and I’m very pleased. Alan gave him a lovely ride and I’m delighted”.
Frankie Dettori is still to win a Derby after Godoplphin’s Dubawi finished third.
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor said: “Dubawi ran very well and we’re pleased with him but he didn’t stay. A mile to a mile-and-quarter, that’s the best distance for him. The St James’s Palace at Royal Ascot at York will be the next race for him.”“
David Wachman was satisfied after his first-ever Derby runner Fracas took fourth spot. The Irish trainer said: “He ran well. He didn’t handle the track great, Jamie said, but once he straightened up he flew down the straight.
“The best horse won on the day - ours stayed on well to be fourth. The Irish Derby is a possibility or we might have to give him a break and wait for the autumn. He ran a good race today and I've no complaints.”
THE 2005 VODAFONE DERBY
Group One, £1,250,000 guaranteed. For 3yo, 1m 4f 10y.: 1st: £725,000; 2nd: £275,000; 3rd: £137,500; 4th: £62,500; 5th: £31,250; 6th: £18,750
1) MOTIVATOR (The Royal Ascot Racing Club) Michael Bell 3-9-00 Johnny Murtagh  3/1 Fav
2) WALK IN THE PARK (Michael Tabor) John Hammond FR t1 3-9-00 Alan Munro  11/1
3) DUBAWI (Godolphin) Saeed bin Suroor 3-9-00 Frankie Dettori  5/1
4) FRACAS (Joseph Joyce) David Wachman IRE 3-9-00 Jamie Spencer 
5) GYPSY KING (Sue Magnier) Aidan O'Brien IRE 3-9-00 Kieren Fallon 
6) HATTAN (Saeed Manana) Clive Brittain 3-9-00 Seb Sanders 
7) UNFURLED (Heather Slade) John Dunlop 3-9-00 Ryan Moore 
8) THE GEEZER (Jeff Smith) David Elsworth 3-9-00 Richard Quinn 
9) GRAND CENTRAL (Sue Magnier & Michael Tabor) Aidan O'Brien IRE 3-9-00 Jimmy Fortune 
10) ORATORIO (Sue Magnier & Michael Tabor) Aidan O'Brien IRE 3-9-00 Michael Kinane 
11) KINGS QUAY (John May) Richard Hannon 3-9-00 Dane O'Neill 
12) ALMIGHTY (Sue Magnier & Michael Tabor) Aidan O'Brien IRE 3-9-00 Pat Smullen 
13) KONG (Neil Jones) John Dunlop 3-9-00 Richard Hughes 
13 ran Non-Runner: First Row (withdrawn not under starter’s order)
Breeder: Deerfield Farm Breeding: b c Montjeu (IRE) - Out West (USA) (Gone West (USA))
Time: 2m 35.69s Dist: 5, 3, 1, 1 1/2, 3, hd, 1 3/4, 2, 8, 2, 3/4, 14