Shock Group One King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes (2,400m) winner Pyledriver could well be in line for a return to Hong Kong at the end of the year.
After a stunning success in British racing’s biggest summer race at Ascot on Saturday, where he beat the best three-year-olds around and some of Europe’s best older horses by two and three-quarter lengths, trainer William Muir revealed a repeat trip to Hong Kong is well and truly on the cards.
“We’re coming back, that’s our aim to come back,” Muir said. “Hong Kong is always on the agenda with him and we want to be in Hong Kong when we will be looked after like kings and we will be.”
Second to Japanese challenger Glory Vase in last year’s Hong Kong Vase, Pyledriver has danced every dance in all the big middle-distance races around the world and Muir is thrilled his five-year-old will now get the recognition he deserves.
“I’ve been in the game a long time and I’m that old you can see it,” Muir said. “I could probably cry and I’m not a crier. I feel very emotional.
“This is just a horse you dream about. People can knock him but he is a champion. I’ve won loads of good races but I said to the owners the other day that he might be 20-1 but I knew I’d win it. As soon as they went fast in front, I knew he would win. That’s what got him beat in the Coronation Cup last time, the slow pace.
“Frankie [Dettori] took up the pace on him but then went even slower. It wasn’t his fault, he’d only ridden the horse twice and unfortunately he jocked himself off here as he supposedly wanted to ride the good horses.”
Dettori’s loss was jockey PJ McDonald’s gain and the rider was thrilled to pick up another win at the highest level a few years after winning four Group Ones with superstar filly Laurens.
“I can’t describe how I’m feeling. It’s days like this you feel are going to pass you by,” McDonald said.
“This could be the last time I ride a Group One winner so I thought I’m going to make sure I enjoy all this. Laurens was brilliant and I thought she was the horse of a lifetime but to get on this fella and have some big days ahead is just brilliant.
“As I entered the last furlong, I was wondering where everybody was. I was willing the line to come but he’s a very good animal and I’ll enjoy my beer tonight.
“You wouldn’t believe how confident the team was this morning and they were just so relaxed. William told me that he couldn’t have him any better and to just enjoy myself.
“These horses are so hard to find and I’ve only come across him by luck. I’m so fortunate.”
Elsewhere on the Ascot card, Frankie Dettori offered a reminder of his world-class talents when winning the Group Two Princess Margaret Stakes on favourite Lezoo.
The Italian jockey has lost the ride on star stayer Stradivarius in this week’s Goodwood Cup but still gave the crowd a thrill with a flying dismount after guiding the Marc Chan-owned Lezoo to an easy victory.
Chan is based in Hong Kong and owns a string of horses in the city as well as in Australia, Britain and the US, with Lezoo certain to be plying her trade again in Group One company after this win.