William Muir floored following latest Pyledriver problem

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A deflated William Muir was on Tuesday coming to terms with the latest setback suffered by his stable star Pyledriver, whose future may be up in the air.

Muir, who trains in partnership with Chris Grassick, planned to run his King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes hero in the Betuk Winter Derby Stakes at Lingfield on February 25 before a trip to Meydan for the Dubai Sheema Classic at the end of March, but those races are now off the agenda.

“Everything was going brilliantly and I was buzzing, but yesterday morning he finished a routine canter and was a tiny bit off on his near-fore,” Muir said. “We’ve got to wait on tests, but I knew where we were – he was in fantastic shape and the three bits of work he’d done have been stunning. It’s frustrating, but it’s one of those things.”

Pyledriver won the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2020 and followed up with his first top-level victory in the Coronation Cup a year later. The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe has been among his main targets for the last two seasons, but he has missed out because of injury.

Muir, who trains the homebred in Lambourn for the La Pyle Partnership, added: “Nothing jumps out. His legs are ice cold and it’s not a fracture that we can see, but we’ve got to wait for scans in the next day or so.

“I could throw the King George in July out there if we could be back for that time of year, or if it’s very minor and we could be back for whatever, but, in my mind, I’ve taken him out of the Lingfield race and the Sheema Classic. It is tough to take. I was doing backflips last week because he was right back on track and I thought we were in business. I’m just hoping it’s a LBW and he’s back for the next innings.”

Pyledriver is not fashionably bred, being by Harbour Watch, but only four horses produced better turf performances than him in 2022 and connections could consider his future as a stallion if the injury is serious.

Muir said: “Horses are very precious to me and, even though he was just one per cent off, I’ve got to take it seriously, so we’ve got to find out what the problem is. I don’t want him to be bad that leads to him being really bad. He’s a good-looking horse who has won a King George and Coronation Cup and other decent races, and his rating [124] showed how good he is, so he would make a very good stallion somewhere. That’s something to explore if we can’t get him back, but he is as good, if not better, than he was – his worked showed me that. 

“If I think he’d find it difficult to come back, then we’ll look for a stallion job, but we haven’t pursued that or talked about it.”

Courtesy of Racing Post