Having already won the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Great Voltigeur at York this season, William Muir’s stable star was strongly fancied for the final British Classic of the year at Doncaster on Saturday.
After travelling strongly for much of the race, the son of Harbour Watch ended up racing on the far side of the track in the closing stages and ultimately had to make do with minor honours.
Muir said: “He’s come home safe and sound. I wondered whether the race might have taken a bit out of him, but he’s eaten everything and he’s in great shape.”
Jockey Martin Dwyer – Muir’s son-in-law – felt Pyledriver failed to see out the trip of a mile and three-quarters and he is set to come back to a mile and a quarter on Champions Day.
“I don’t want to be dogmatic and say he didn’t stay. He didn’t stay quite as well as the first two, but I felt he was closing again at the line and at the end of the day he’s been beaten a length and a neck,” Muir added.
“He couldn’t quite go through the gears like he did at York. It didn’t help that he got a bump and ended up out on a wing on his own, but that’s racing.
“The Champion Stakes was the plan and I don’t see any reason to change it.
“I think he’ll be fine back at a mile and a quarter and if it did come up heavy ground, he’d handle that and it would mean you’d nearly need to stay a mile and a half well to win, which he obviously does.
“He is still a bit weak, which I’ve been telling everyone all year. He’ll be some horse next year, I promise you.”
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