Features | 8th June 2021
Not even a rainy Friday at Epsom could wipe the smile off the connections off Pyledriver. For, their battling superstar had just pipped hot favourite Al Aasy to the prestigious Group 1 Coronation Cup. Their first success at the top tier of racing as a group.
“I really thought we were beaten, but boy didn’t he battle!” That was co-owner Guy Leach’s reaction after Pyledriver won the Group 1 Coronation Cup on an emotional afternoon at Epsom last Friday (4th June).
Guy says the colt’s stirring defeat of hot favourite Al Aasy on Cazoo Oaks day is still sinking in. “In those few seconds before he got his head in front I was certain we were going to be pipped, but we’d have been thrilled with second place.”
Pyledriver took up the running when the pace slackened mid-race but had to be brave when Jim Crowley and Al Aasy cruised into the lead with a furlong to run, looking almost certain to snatch the glory.
Martin Dwyer, Pyledriver’s regular partner, urged the son of Harbour Watch to dig deeper into his reserves and forged his head back in front at the line to win by a straining neck.
“Martin rides Epsom so well and knew exactly where he wanted to be,” adds Guy. “He told us at a meeting the day before that he had a plan in mind and we were all thrilled for him that it worked out so well.
“We’re also delighted for William and his new co-trainer Chris Grassick that they have a Group 1 win on the board. They’ve handled our horse brilliantly and thoroughly deserve it.”
Guy, who shares the colt with brother Huw and close friend Roger Devlin, couldn’t wait to visit Muir’s Lambourn yard on Saturday morning to greet their hero.
“When we arrived his winner’s sheet was draped over the gate and I could see William beaming from 100 yards away,” he adds. “Since then we’ve continued our celebrations. We’re enjoying every moment.”
The La Pyle Partnership has several high profile targets to look forward to this season but long-term plans to run Pyledriver in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot next week are now likely to be scrapped, explains Guy.
“William acknowledges he had a hard race in that testing ground and we’re all keen to give him plenty of time to recover properly, so Ascot is now unlikely,” he reveals. “We’ll almost certainly head straight to the King George nice and fresh next month.”
Meanwhile, Guy, Huw and Roger are counting down the days until Pyledriver’s half-brother – another home-bred colt by Frankel out of their former jumping mare – makes his debut on the racetrack.
“He’s a lovely yearling and we’re all looking forward to seeing him in action next year. Until then we have so many big days ahead with Pyledriver. We’ll just keep on enjoying the ride.”
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