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    05 June 2023

    Pyledriver Aims to Defend King George Title in Upcoming Race

    Pyledriver Targets Hardwicke Stakes as Comeback Trail Begins

    The King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner, Pyledriver, is gearing up for a comeback after injury and could use the Hardwicke Stakes as a stepping stone to his title defence. The William Muir and Chris Grassick-trained star has not raced since winning the all-aged midsummer Group One highlight last July.

    Pyledriver was being prepared for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe when he suffered an unexpected setback. Plans to return to the Dubai Sheema Classic were also scotched following an injury to his near foreleg in spring 2022.

    The six-year-old stallion runs in La Pyle Partnership colours and won the Coronation Cup in 2021; he finished second in that race behind Hukum last year. Trainer William Muir is hopeful of having him back at Ascot for the Group Two Hardwicke on June 24th.

    A Steady Return

    Muir indicates that Pyledriver is slowly but surely returning to form, stating that “He did his first piece of work on Friday… We have brought him along nice and gently this time”. He further indicates that Pyledriver swims every night as part of his routine – something new they are trying out ahead of preparations for upcoming races including the King George.

    Primary Targets Still In Sight

    Muir notes that while their primary targets are towards later in the year, missing out on competing at Hardwicke remains an option if necessary. According to Muir: “The object was always about going back-to-back with titles at King George before prioritising getting ready for Arc.”

    The best races and prize money are still later in the year, so there is no need to rush Pyledriver’s rehabilitation. “The Hardwicke…is a race to bring him on for the King George,” Muir said.

    Final Thoughts

    Muir emphasizes that they will only allow Pyledriver to compete if he’s at least 90-95% fit. “If he says ‘yes’, he’ll be there…And if he says ‘no’, he won’t be,” added Muir.

    The two-week timeline gives them enough time to prepare him for the Hardwicke Stakes but missing out is not an issue, as their focus remains on more significant races towards the end of 2022 such as international events like Kong Kong or Breeders’ Cup.

    Pyledriver has been missed from racing since last July when winning his title, but it seems that William Muir and Chris Grassick have nursed him back to good health slowly and steadily without needing any shortcuts or rushing things.

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