” title=”Pyledriver: a dominant winner of the King George at Ascot”
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Pyledriver: a dominant winner of the King George at Ascot
By Owen Goulding
Pyledriver provided William Muir and Chris Grassick with a second Group 1 success by winning a thrilling King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes under PJ McDonald, defeating German raider Torquator Tasso.
The race was headlined by a seemingly cut-throat early gallop set by Irish Derby winner Westover and the Aidan O’Brien-trained Broome, with Pyledriver always sitting in the perfect position behind the pair.
He swept past them in the straight and soon had the race in safe keeping, staying on strongly to keep last year’s Arc winner at bay and cause an 18-1 shock.
title=”Pyledriver (red cap) stayed on strongly to deny Torquator Tasso in the King George”
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Pyledriver (red cap) stayed on strongly to deny Torquator Tasso in the King George
Betfair and Paddy Power reacted to Pyledriver’s impressive success by cutting him to 16-1 (from 66) for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Although the outsider of the party, victory did not come as a surprise to joint-trainer William Muir.
“I thought for the last two weeks he’d win,” said Muir. “I didn’t care what was in the race – I know they say Westover was fantastic in the Irish Derby and Emily Upjohn is terrific – but I know Pyledriver is very, very good.
“He was showing all the signs at home. It’s a big team effort and from day one I told the owners to back him on debut at 66-1. We feel sorry for Martin [Dwyer] – he told PJ exactly what to do today and it was brilliant.”
Pyledriver’s regular partner Martin Dwyer remains on the sidelines through injury and McDonald, whose only previous ride on the five-year-old resulted in a Listed win at Haydock in 2019, was quick to praise his weighing room colleague following his fifth Group 1 success.
McDonald told ITV: “I feel so sorry for Martin. These horses are so hard to come by and I know what he’ll be going through right now. He’s an absolute gent and been so supportive of me and helped me so much in the last week, I’ll try and keep Pyledriver right for him for when he’s back.
“You work hard every day but don’t think these days will happen. This came to me by luck – it’s someone else’s misfortune and I’ve stood in, but I’m so grateful to William and Chris, their team and the horse.
“It was as smooth as it could have been – he went through the race like a knife through butter. I knew turning in it would take a good one to get past him.”
It was ultimately a race dominated by the older generation, with last year’s Arc hero Torquator Tasso finishing a brave second for Marcel Weiss. Mishriff, who blew the start, finished third.
The three-year-olds Westover, who was sent off the 13-8 favourite, and Emily Upjohn raced keenly in the early stages and were unable to land a blow, beaten 18 and 25 lengths respectively.
Click here to watch the full replay of the King George won by Pyledriver
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