William Muir Sweet On Pyledriver Champion Stakes Chances

Champion Stakes

Trainer William Muir is very happy with his stable star Pyledriver and is bullish about the chances of the three year old on Saturday as he drops back in trip for the Group One Champion Stakes.

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.

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 they drew a line through that run.

He proved how special he can be two starts ago when taking the Group Two Great Voltigeur Stakes at York's Ebor meeting, being eased down in the final stages.

The St Leger was next on the agenda and with many pundits fearing he would not stay, they were proved wrong as the three year old finished a length third behind winner Galileo Chrome.

Although seeing out the marathon trip his trainer believes he is best over 1 mile 4 furlongs and he will drop to that trip at the weekend where he will mix it with the best in one of the most cherished races of every flat season.

(Credit ATR) Muir said: “He’s getting stronger and is starting to retain his weight easier. His work has been good, the same as ever, and I’m very confident I’ve still got him at his best.

“I think if it hadn’t been for this type of year, we would probably not run him over a mile and a six (furlongs) in the St Leger. You can’t be dogmatic and say he didn’t stay because he ground it out, but that was his class.

“He wasn’t as effective because we took his gears and speed away from him. Martin (Dwyer) was sitting, waiting and having to hold him on to him when he wanted to kick.

“I’m not worried about the ground and the trip won’t be a problem. Straight after he won the Voltigeur (at York), the jockey went on TV and said he had the pace to win a Group One over a mile and a quarter.”

Whatever happens in the black type event at the weekend, Pyledriver will stay in training and be seen again next year, with Muir looking forward to seeing what he can become.

He added: “We’ve got loads to look forward to with this horse and, no matter what else, the boys (owners) have had a fantastic time.

“We’ve enjoyed every minute of it and we’ve got next year and the year after with him, when we will be looking at the big races all around the world.”