Epsom Derby Tips: Pyledriver profile

Pyledriver was a surprise winner of the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Pyledriver was a surprise winner of the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Nick Seddon profiles the Epsom Derby contender Pyledriver, who was a surprise winner of a key trial for this race at Royal Ascot last week...


  • Trainer: William Muir
  • Age: 3
  • Owner: Knox & Wells Limited And R W Devlin
  • Races: 6
  • Wins: 3
  • Notable Race Wins: Ascendant Stakes (2019), King Edward VII Stakes (2020)
  • Stall: 3
  • Jockey: Martin Dwyer

Career Record

Pyledriver is one of the more experienced runners in this year's Derby field, having made six career starts to date, with four of those coming in his juvenile season. A surprise win on debut as a 50/1 outsider at Salisbury last July rather set the tone for his career to date, and he followed that up with a creditable effort to finish fourth in listed company on his second start at Newbury a month later. Pyledriver quickly proved he was a pattern level performer by striking at listed level in the Ascendant Stakes on his next start at Haydock in September, before finishing last of seven behind Royal Dornoch and current Derby second favourite Kameko in the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes on his final start as a two-year-old at the end of that month. 

That performance perhaps explained why Pyledriver was an unconsidered 40/1 outsider when lining up for what appeared to be a warm renewal of the Group 3 Classic Trial at Kempton at the beginning of the month, but he impressed with the way he finished strongly from an difficult position to grab second. Pyledriver showed an abundance of tenacity once again at the Royal meeting, when defying expectations for the fourth time in his short career to seal a game success in the King Edward VII Stakes, showing a good turn of foot to hit the front and thwart the challenge of the Aidan O'Brien-trainied Arthur's Kingdom. 

The jumbled up nature of this year's calendar means that this year's King Edward VII Stakes is a Derby trial rather than a consolation race, and while he will once again be fulfilling the moniker of lively outsider, he's more than earned his shot. 

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Versatility: Pyledriver is an extremely likeable type, and has already experienced six different tracks during his career. He thrived when tackling Ascot's steep finish last time out, and he ought to handle Epsom's awkward undulations as well as any other runner in the field. 

Proven at the trip: While some of the more fancied runners have questions hanging over them about their stamina, namely Kameko, Pyledriver has winning form over this distance already. Indeed, he also has winning form at both seven furlongs and a mile, so his prominent style should suit if this renewal proves to be a frenetically-run one. 

Experienced partner: Pyledriver will be partnered by the hugely experienced Martin Dwyer, who won the Derby back in 2006 on Sir Percy. Dwyer knows what it takes to win a Derby, and his comments in the aftermath of the Royal meeting certainly suggest that he feels his colt deserves a chance.


Another step up: Pyledriver is making a habit of defying expectations, though this year's renewal of the King Edward didn't look the strongest, and this will be his first try at Group 1 level. The Derby is shaping up into a competitive renewal, and although Pyledriver deserves his chance, he will need more.  

Tactics: Pyledriver represents the William Muir yard, which is more than capable of sending out a high-class performer, though the nature of the Derby means that some of the more powerful yards - such as Aidan O'Brien - will undoubtedly send multiple runners. As a result, Pyledriver could prove vulnerable if this turns into a particularly tactical affair.

How will Pyledriver fare in the 2020 Epsom Derby?

It would be folly to write Pyledriver off completely, as he loves nothing more than defying expectations, but it's difficult to see him having a winning chance at Epsom. His performance to win the King Edward VII Stakes was extremely likeable, though it didn't look the strongest of renewals, and he will need more on his first try in Group 1 company. That being said, he has a tremendously game attitude, is proven at the trip and will almost certainly handle the test that Epsom poses. It isn't out of the realms of possibility that he could yet find a little more improvement, and with that in mind, he could well sneak into the places under his experienced rider. 

Verdict: Each-way chance

Epsom Derby
Pyledriver silk

Pyledriver (EW)

Epsom Derby Odds

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