The Scotsman

Pyledriver in ‘great or­der’ as Muir sta­ble star heads for fi­nal Clas­sic

● Trainer be­lieves colt will stay and is op­ti­mistic of big run in St Leger

- By PETER ALLINSON Sports · Horse Racing · Doncaster · Santiago · Edward VII of the United Kingdom · Derby County F.C. · Epsom · Australia · Hong Kong · Paris · Lambourn

Wil­liam Muir is con­fi­dent Pyledriver is at the top of his game for the Per temps St Leger at Don­caster.

The Har­bour Watch colt was a 40-1 shot when run­ner-up on his sea­sonal reap­pear­ance at Kempton in early June, but has made gi­ant strides since and dis­putes favouritis­m with the Ai­dan O’brien-trained San­ti­ago for the sea­son’s fi­nal Clas­sic on Satur­day.

Muirack now ledges-suc­cess on Town Mo or would be a huge achieve­ment for his small team dur­ing a time when, more of­ten than not, the top prizes go to the big­ger yards.

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.”

A sur­prise win in the King Ed­ward VII Stakes at Royal As­cot was fol­lowed by a luck­less run in the Derby at Ep­som, since when Pyledriver has given weight and a sound beat­ing to his ri­vals in the Great Voltigeur at York last month.

Muir, pic­tured, re­vealed the colt’s own­ers have re­ceived “life - chang­ing” of­fers to sell 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. “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 ,” Muir added.

“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 Lam­bourn han­dler in­sists he could not be hap­pier with his sta­ble star as he com­pletes prepa­ra­tions for a race that is par t of the 2020 Qip - co Bri­tish Champions Se­ries – and he is op­ti­mistic the son of un­beaten sprinter Har­bour Watch will stay the dis­tance of a mile and three-quar­ters. “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-half­full 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.”

Pyledriver was one of 15 horses left in the St Leger at yes­ter­day’s con­fir­ma­tion stage.

As well as San­ti­ago, Ai­dan O’ Brien maybe rep­re­sented by Dawn Pa­trol, Myth­i­cal and Tiger Moth – while his son Joseph could sad­dle the pro­gres­sive Galileo Chrome. Other lead­ing hopes in­clude the Owen Bur rows-trained Hukum, Mark John­ston’ s Sub­jec­tivist and Ed Walker’s English King.

The lat­ter also has the op­tion of run­ning in the Grand Prix de Paris the fol­low­ing af­ter­noon.

“He’s in great form and is all set to run some­where this week­end,” said Walker.

“We’ll make a de­ci­sion much closer to the time.”

“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”

WIL­LIAM MUIR

 ?? PIC­TURE: ED­WARD WHITTAKER/GETTY IM­AGES ?? 0 Pyledriver forges clear of his ri­vals to win the King Ed­ward VII Stakes at Royal As­cot in June.
PIC­TURE: ED­WARD WHITTAKER/GETTY IM­AGES 0 Pyledriver forges clear of his ri­vals to win the King Ed­ward VII Stakes at Royal As­cot in June.
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