Features | 2nd June 2021
Owning a share in Coronation Cup contender Pyledriver is like being on a magic carpet ride, says Guy Leach.
The home-bred four-year-old will line up in the Group 1 feature on Cazoo Oaks Day at Epsom on Friday (4th June) – and all three of his proud owners are looking forward to being there following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.
“Just to have a runner on Oaks Day and to experience it first-hand will be a big thrill,” says Guy, who shares the colt with his brother Huw Leach and former university friend Roger Devlin.
“It would be even more amazing to see him win or finish in the first three or four. He’s certainly got the form to be involved, but after last year’s success everything is a bonus,” he enthuses.
Bred by themselves out of a modest jumping mare, Pyledriver has already amassed almost £200,000 in win and place prize money, elevating his official rating to a lofty 119.
He gave the La Pyle Partnership an unforgettable year in 2020, winning the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York before finishing third in the world’s oldest Classic, the St Leger.
Those achievements were supplemented by an exciting re-appearance in the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket in early May, when he was second to Mark Johnston’s classy Sir Ron Priestley.
No wonder his trainer William Muir has ambitious plans. Next stop after Epsom will be the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot, followed by a crack at the Group 1 King George there in July, and Pyledriver also holds an entry in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Muir, who shares his licence with young protégé Chris Grassick, says: “I couldn’t be happier with him. His regular jockey Martin Dwyer rode him in a racecourse gallop at Newbury last week and we’ve got him right where we want him.
“Martin may sit on him again before the race but Jeta Ram rides him in most of his homework and does a great job with him.
“He’s such well-balanced, athletic horse that I don’t see the undulations at Epsom causing him any problems,” adds Lambourn-based Muir. “I said last year that he’ll be a better horse at four and I stand by that.”
The La Pyle Partnership could never have predicted the success they would go on to enjoy when they agreed to send his dam La Pyle – a modest hurdler – to unfashionable stallion Harbour Watch.
“We pinch ourselves every day because we all realise that owning a horse like this means we’ve truly hit the racing jackpot,” adds Guy.
“But it’s not just the privilege of going to all the big meetings. It’s great being able to turn up at William’s yard on a morning and watch him on the gallops.
“He’s only just starting out as a four-year-old so there’s so much more to look forward to. Hopefully we can race at the top level for the next few years. There are so many fun times ahead of us – It’s like being on a magic carpet ride.”
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