Trainer William Muir is very bullish about his stable star Pyledriver and his chance in the Group One St Leger on Saturday at Doncaster, as the handler has expressed the preparation has gone perfectly.
The three year old has been a real success story for the fairly small yard having made his seasonal debut in June when finishing second at Kempton, but since then improving with every run and showing he is a real black type contender.
He headed to Royal Ascot for his second start of the season and he was a shock winner of the Group Two King Edward VII Stakes seeing off the likes of Mogul for Aidan O'Brien.
He was given a Derby entry and went to Epsom but having being bumped in the big field early on he ran no race and as a far as Muir was concerned that can go down as a blip.
He proved how special he can be last time out when taking the Group Two Great Voltigeur Stakes at York's Ebor meeting, being eased down in the final stages and with the winner of the St Leger using that race for his prep run last season, it reads very well.
(Credit ATR) He said: “There’s a great mood in the camp. We have seven staff riding out, three staff in the yard, the staff in the office and me. It’s a small team, and everyone is delighted.
“We have about 26 horses. We’re not a fashionable yard – everyone wants somebody younger and more fashionable. It’s just one of those things, but if this horse could go and win on Saturday it would be fantastic for the whole team and everyone around it.”
The handler explained that the colt’s owners have received “life-changing” offers to sell the horse over the course of the summer, but have so far resisted all potential buyers for a horse who did not even meet his reserve of £10,000 when sent to the sales as a foal.
Muir added:“Anybody can come into this game, go out with a relatively small amount of money and you can find these good horses. They’re hard to come by, but you can find them.
“The owners have turned down some big offers. If the offers had been accepted I don’t think he would have stayed in this country – places like Australia and Hong Kong wanted him really badly.
“If one person had owned him, you couldn’t have said no to the kind of offers we got – it was life-changing money – but there’s three of them, and they wanted to keep him.”
The son of Harbour Watch has never ran over further than 1m 4f but the Lambourn based trainer believes he will stay the extra trip in the St Leger and if doing so should be the one to beat.
“He’s in great order and has done all the work he needs to do. As long as he stays like this for the rest of the week, I couldn’t be taking him there in better shape,” said Muir.
“I’ve always been a glass-half-full kind of person – my glass is always overflowing, to be fair.
“I think he will stay and I think we’ve got a great chance, but it is a horse race. I thought we had a great chance in the Derby, and it all went wrong, but you shake yourself down and go again.”
Muir has explained that regardless what happens on the Saturday his three year old will be seen again before the end of the season in the Champion Stakes at Ascot on British Champions Day.
Muir added:“He’ll go for the Champion Stakes at Ascot after Saturday, as long as the hose is fine. That will be his last run of the year, because we’re not going abroad – it’s too difficult with the Covid.
“Next year is mapped out already in my mind. You could start off at Newmarket in the Jockey Club Stakes, then you’d go Coronation Cup at Epsom, Hardwicke at Royal Ascot, the King George – and at the back-end of the season, if we’re out of this Covid, we could go for the Arc.”