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Pyledriver wins in serious style



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Pyledriver upset the odds to win the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday, August 23 for Lambourn’s William Muir and Chris Grassick.

The 18/1 shot finished two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Arc winner Torquator Tasso in a field that included winners of the Irish Derby and the Juddmonte International.

“It’s impossible to sum up the emotions after a win like that,” said co-trainer William Muir, who has been based at his Linkslade yard in Lambourn since 1993.

William Muir at his Linkslade yard
William Muir at his Linkslade yard

“It was a very special day, it’s what we all come into racing for, it’s what we’ve always dreamed about.

“He hasn’t just competed at the top table, he’s gone and shown how good he is.

“I wasn’t surprised, I thought we’d definitely win, that’s how good this horse is, he’s special.”

Winning jockey PJ McDonald, who claimed his fifth top-level success, benefited from the absence of Martin Dwyer, who had ridden Pyledriver on 14 of his 16 starts.

Dwyer, who is Muir’s son-in-law, is sidelined having torn ligaments in his knee following an accident on the gallops riding out for trainer Brian Meehan.

“It was slightly bittersweet, he’s part of the family, of course he wants the horse to do really well,” Muir said.

“It was a real unfortunate, freak accident which has curtailed his year.

“If you asked him, he’d rather the horse won than got beat, he’s part of the team and he wanted him to win.

“He went through the race with PJ, he was a big help.

“Fortunately, PJ is a very, very good jockey, he’s ridden me lots of winners over the years, I’ve got lots of time for him.”

Muir was also keen to praise his Linkslade team, work rider Jeta and stable lad Babu.

“He bites Babu almost every day but he doesn’t bat an eye, he’s got such a quiet, wonderful nature, he's brilliant,” Muir said.

“Jeta rides him every day and he told me he’s never been better than this, he told me he’d win.

"The two of them do everything with him."

Muir is targetting the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October, but remains undecided whether the five-year-old will race in the Breeders Cup or the Japan Cup in November.

He said: “I’ve always known that the Arc has been where we’re going, I’ve known that since the start of the season.

“After that we’ll have a discussion, we want to go to Hong Kong, whether we go to the Breeders Cup or Japan Cup, I don’t know.

“The honest answer is I don’t know, wherever he goes he’ll do well, he’s that good.”

Pyledriver, who as a foal in 2017 failed to fetch even his reserve price, has taken Muir and Grassick to Hong Kong, South Africa and Dubai and is set to race in Paris and one of Tokyo or Kentucky – time and again, he’s proved the world really is his oyster.



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