Horse Talk with Simon Jackson:
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THE KING George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes is the immediate target for Coronation Cup winner Pyledriver following news he is likely to bypass Royal Ascot.
Pyledriver delivered a first Group 1 to training partners William Muir and Chris Grassick when rallying gamely to beat Al Aasy by a neck in the 12-furlong contest at Epsom on Friday.
The Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes on the final day of Royal Ascot on June 19 was mooted as the immediate target. But after watching reruns of the race Muir has revealed his stable star is more likely to next contest the King George at Ascot on July 24; where he is priced at 6-1 (Paddy Power) behind Investec Derby winner Adayar who heads the betting at 9-4.
“Pyledriver’s 90 per cent not going to run in the Hardwicke unless he starts knocking my door down doing something spectacular saying, ‘You’ve got to run me’,” Muir said. “Unless that happens, I think it’s very unlikely he’ll run and he’ll go straight to the King George.”
“When I came home on Friday night and sat down with my wife to watch the Coronation Cup, I actually thought it was a war.
“It was a real tear-up, so my thoughts were that two weeks may be too quick a turnaround. So, why not wait seven and go to the King George?
“Our plan is to go the whole way through the season, not just have two races and that’s it. I don’t want punters to back him [for Royal Ascot] because he probably won’t be running,” Muir told the Racing Post.
“The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is definitely on the agenda. If we thought we were going to struggle in these Group 1 races we could have gone a different route, with the Canadian International, which is a great race in its own right and has great prize-money, or maybe a Group 1 in Germany.
“But we’ve done it in England now in one of the most prestigious races in the calendar, so we’ve got a ticket to go to the biggest races.”
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