Pyledriver on course for Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
Pyledriver is set to follow the route made familiar by Enable and warm up for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Kempton a week on Saturday.
He is earmarked for the Unibet September Stakes, a Group 3 event which Enable won on the way to her second Arc success in 2018 and again before finishing sixth at Longchamp in 2020 on what turned out to be her final run.
William Muir has been thinking over plans for Pyledriver, a dual Group 1 winner who has earned more than £2 million in prize-money, since withdrawing the six-year-old from last week’s Juddmonte International at the five-day confirmation stage.
But the joint-trainer said on Tuesday: “The way it looks now, I think he’ll run a week on Saturday in the September Stakes, then go for the Arc.”
Pyledriver won the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot in June on his first run in 11 months before finishing fifth when attempting to repeat last year’s success in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
“It was always my plan at the beginning of the year to go first time out in the Hardwicke, then run in the King George, September Stakes and then the Arc,” Muir said.
“We did then contemplate if we should go for the Juddmonte, so we made the entry, and that puts more pressure on you.
“I made a plan that if I got up the next day and didn’t think he was bouncing out of his skin, I would bypass it, so we did, then the day after it he was bouncing out of his skin! He’s in good shape now and his work was lovely this morning.”
The September Stakes, which went last year to subsequent Prince of Wales’s Stakes and Juddmonte International winner Mostahdaf, is run on a Polytrack all-weather surface.
But Muir said: “Pyledriver ran well at Kempton in the Classic trial when we had Covid, we were drawn 11 of 11 and he finished second, and he won the Churchill Stakes at Lingfield, so that’s not a bother.”
He added: “If I was to wait right the way through to the Arc, I don’t know whether that would be right, so that’s the way we’re headed.”
Pyledriver, who gained his first Group 1 success in the Coronation Cup at Epsom in 2021, is a best-priced 40-1 for the Arc.
“It’s one of the world’s greatest races and nobody goes there thinking this is this and that’s that, but he goes there with the right to be there,” Muir said. “If he’s in the form that we want him to be in, he’ll run a massive race.”
Courtesy of Racing Post