St Leger Tips: Pyledriver Profile

Pyledriver was an impressive winner of the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Pyledriver was an impressive winner of the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Steve Chambers profiles the Great Voltigeur Stakes and King Edward VII Stakes winner Pyledriver, who is one of the leading fancies for the St Leger at Doncaster, which takes place on September 12, 2020...

Pyledriver

  • Age: 3
  • Races: 8
  • Wins: 4
  • Trainer: William Muir
  • Jockey: Martin Dwyer
  • Owner: La Pyle Partnership
  • Notable Race Wins: King Edward VII Stakes (2020), Great Voltigeur Stakes (2020)

Career Record

Sent off a whopping 50/1 outsider on his two-year-old debut at Salisbury, Pyledriver produced a sparkling first outing to kick off his career with a victory. The son of Harbour Watch then went on to show it wasn't a flash in the pan, as two starts later he claimed a length and a quarter victory in the listed Ascendant Stakes at Haydock Park. Relatively unfancied at 14/1 that day, Pyledriver was held up before unleashing a winning run in the closing stages of a race that also saw fellow St Leger hope Subjectivist (4th) take his chance. Handed a stiff task in his final race as a juvenile, Pyledriver was unable to land any sort of blow in the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket, where he finished last of seven behind the likes of Royal Dornoch and 2000 Guineas hero Kameko.

While his two-year-old campaign showed he could be an exciting three-year-old over further distances, the performances in 2020 have certainly excelled expectations from many quarters, as he has launched himself into the classic picture this season with some sublime displays in Group company. An unfancied 40/1 outsider in his first start this season, Pyledriver ran a huge race to finish second to Berlin Tango in the Classic Trial at Sandown Park. Still underestimated by the bookmakers on his second run of the season, Pyledriver was sent off a 16/1 shot for the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot. Producing a blistering display at the Berkshire extravaganza, Pyledriver stormed clear to beat the likes of Arthur's Kingdom and Mogul by over two lengths to record the biggest win of his career.

With connections riding the crest of a wave, Pyledriver was sent to Epsom Downs for the Group 1 Investec Derby, but in the strangely-run renewal of the third classic of the season, Pyledriver could only finish 11th of 16. But, it wasn't long before William Muir's stable star was back to winning ways as he defeated Aidan O'Brien's Mogul for the second time this season, as Pyledriver stormed to an emphatic victory in the Great Voltiguer Stakes at York's Ebor Festival. Bounding to a three and a half length victory that day on the Knavesmire, Pyledriver secured his place in the St Leger with a dominant display in one of the premier trials for the Doncaster classic, and the star team of Muir and jockey Martin Dwyer will be aiming to end their season in fine style by claiming victory in the 1m 6f marathon.

Positives

Stamina: What was taking with both his King Edward VII and Great Voltigeur wins was that Pyledriver was doing his best work in the closing stages. Excelling over 1m 4f in those two contests, the extra couple of furlongs in the St Leger shouldn't pose too many problems, so he has to be fancied to go close if producing his best.

Proven class: With two Group wins to his name this season, Pyledriver has shown he can deliver on the biggest stages, and while he may not be trained by one of the star trainers in the Flat sphere, William Muir has shown he can get his stable star firing on all cylinders for the top races, so he is a lively player at the top of the betting.

Premier trial winner: Fourteen horses have won the Great Voltigeur Stakes before going on to land St Leger glory, so with Pyledriver having won the York trial he has some strong form statistics enhancing his reputation heading to Doncaster. Logician did the Great Voltigeur/St Leger double last season, and Pyledriver is bidding to become the 15th horse to achieve the feat..

Negatives

Strength of form: Both of Pyledriver's Group 2 wins has seen him getting the better of Mogul, who has flattered to deceive this season. A winner of the Gordon Stakes, Mogul has been highly touted as a star, but he has often failed to produce his best, so could Pyledriver's form to date be hanging over a cloud?

Short in the betting: Having been lofty odds for most of his career outings, Pyledriver has certainly been found in the betting by the bookmakers, and he is as short as 11/4 at the time of writing. Second favourite to Santiago, Pyledriver has to be given the utmost respect, but from an ante-post perspective you have to feel he will bigger come race day should all the leading protagonists turn up at Doncaster.

How will Pyledriver fare in the 2020 St Leger?

Pyledriver is serving up a real rags to riches story this Flat season, and William Muir's star who continues to defy the odds will look for another big-race success in the St Leger. Entitled to take his chance in the final classic of the season, Pyledriver should have no issues stepping up in trip, but having failed to land a blow in Group 1 company this season, could he just be vulnerable to a classier rival in the Doncaster showpiece?

Verdict: A worthy contender

St Leger
Pyledriver silk

Pyledriver

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St Leger Odds 2020
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