Pyledriver hammers Voltigeur rivals

Muir runner grabs Group Two glory at York.

  • Wednesday 19 August
  • News
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Pyledriver delivered a power-packed performance to register his second Group Two triumph in the Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes at York.

The King Edward VII Stakes winner put an unfortunate run in the Derby behind him to show his true his colours in terrific fashion and strike for trainer William Muir and jockey Martin Dwyer, his son-in-law.

Subjectivist set the pace with Berkshire Rocco and Roberto Escobarr close up and Pyledriver towards the rear.

The pack opened up in the straight, with every one of the eight runners having a chance until Pyledriver saunted through on the far side of the track to make his bid.

Once Pyledriver (10-1) hit the front, the race was as good as over, despite having a 3lb penalty for his Royal Ascot success.

Highland Chief (11-1) was three and a half lengths back in second place with Mogul (85-40 favourite) half a length away in third.

Pyledriver was quoted at 8-1 with Betway to win the St Leger at Doncaster next month and was slashed to 6-1 from 16-1 with Betway and Paddy Power.

Muir said: “He’s one of the best horses I’ve trained. Averti was beaten a head in a Nunthorpe, Stepper Point was beaten half a length in the Nunthorpe. This horse needs to win a Group One to be the best, but he could well get there.

“It was a good race today. I can understand Mogul was such a short price and we were such a big price, but if we’d had a clear run in the Derby, we’d have finished in front of him. Our race was gone after three furlongs.

“He’s a big, unfurnished horse, but he’s getting there. He’s so easy to do anything with and he thinks life’s great.

“I thought we’d win. I got told off by my wife last night as when I’m being so bullish she says ‘I hope you’re right, keep your mouth shut!’.

“We’ll go back and talk. We are in the Grand Prix de Paris. The Leger has been on the cards, but people are saying we should now go for the Arc.

“He didn’t look like he was stopping today, but then Martin said today he’s got loads of gears, and horses with gears normally don’t just stay and stay.

“It’s a lovely problem to have – this is where we want to be.”

Dwyer said: “It was great. He did it really well. I was very impressed with him.

“Epsom was a write off. He suffered interference badly and he never got chance to show off his best, but he’s bounced back today. I was really thrilled with him.

“He had a 3lb penalty and I thought if he could reproduce Ascot, he’d just about win it – he’s surpassed that and won it really well.

“I’ll leave it to the owners to make that decision (about the St Leger). It wouldn’t be the natural step up in trip with him but, having said that, it’s the last Classic so if they decide to go that way, he’d have a great chance.”

Dwyer revealed he had been handed a three-day ban by the stewards for careless riding about half a mile into the race.

“Unfortunately I picked up a three-day suspension early on in the race. I dropped to the rail and I didn’t realise Andrea (Atzeni on Juan Elcano) was there. I just made a little mistake,” he said.

Oliver Cole, who trains Highland Chief in partnership with his father Paul, indicated the St Leger could be an option next month for their charge.

He said: “I think the ground was OK for him, we were hoping for softer ground which is what he won on at Ascot.

“It’s a difficult race to read, he’s beaten Mogul. I think he’s got a better turn of foot than he showed there, but he didn’t quicken as well as I expected him to.

“We could think about the St Leger, but it could depend if the winner goes to the Leger! Maybe, we’ll have to have a think, but he’s run his heart out.”

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