King George: Pyledriver on track for Ascot in July after missing Hardwicke Stakes at Royal meeting last week

William Muir and Chris Grassick opted to miss Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot with Pyledriver after victory in Epsom's Coronation Cup; colt heading to King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes in July

Pyledriver battles back to beat Al Aasy
Image: Pyledriver (right) battles back to beat Al Aasy in the Coronation Cup at Epsom

Pyledriver is on track for the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes after missing a Royal Ascot engagement to focus on the race.

The colt was last seen triumphing in Epsom's Coronation Cup, crossing the line a neck ahead of 7-4 favourite and runner-up Al Aasy after a terrific battle.

A run in the Hardwicke Stakes at the Royal meeting was considered after the victory, but trainers William Muir and Chris Grassick opted to sidestep the meeting and give the four-year-old chance to fully recuperate.

Get racing news on your phone

Get racing news on your phone

Never miss a story with all the latest racing news, interviews and features on your phone. Find out more

Pyledriver's recent work has suggested to Muir that the two-week turnaround would not have been an issue, but the handler is glad that he chose to forgo the Royal meeting and prioritise his longevity throughout the season.

"After his run at Epsom I thought we'd had a hard race and I thought it [Royal Ascot] might come a bit quick, so I made a conscious decision that I didn't want to run him after a hard race," said Muir.

"Then come confirmation time he was nearly bursting the place open and I thought 'oh goodness, what do I do?' - but then I thought 'no, stick to your original plan'.

"He could have run because he was really, really fresh and well, he was jumping out of his skin.

Also See:

Pyledriver won the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot last year
Image: Pyledriver won the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot last year

"I think he could have taken the turnaround, but I want to space these races out because he could go anywhere and if I run him too many times in quick succession, will we get through to the Arc and those type of races at the back end of the year?

"I didn't want to punish him, he's a very good horse and I want to train him as a good horse, which I always would do with any animal.

"I don't want to just run him in and out because he's not here for that, he's a very good animal."

Pyledriver will bid for a second Group One success when he takes on the King George, run like the Coronation Cup over a mile and a half.

"At the moment he's like a lion, we're going to go for the King George," Muir said.

"He's in really good shape, he's fresh as paint."

Follow Sky Sports Racing on Twitter

Follow Sky Sports Racing on Twitter

See the latest horse racing news, interviews and features from Sky Sports Racing

Muir and Grassick's stable star has become one of racing's most popular success stories, something Muir attributes to the tale of his failure to sell as a foal and the underdog status he has gained from being trained by a smaller yard.

"He's very popular because he's very eye-catching and good looking," he said.

"He does what he does and people like the story with a smaller stable.

"He's a horse that wasn't worth anything and he's graduated to be a star performer."

Around Sky