THE FIRST OF THREE 1m4f Group One races to be contested on Epsom Downs over two days, the Coronation Cup, developed into an epic duel throughout the final furlong and a half where Jim Crowley produced Shadwell’s Al Aasy to challenge Pyledriver.
Crowley’s mount, the hot favourite, appeared to have the upper hand, putting his head in front inside that last furlong, only for Pyledriver, under a very positive ride from Martin Dwyer who had taken up the running shortly after halfway, to battle back and regain the initiative close home, clearly relishing the underfoot conditions with the ground softening after persistent rain throughout the day.
Representing the new training partnership of Willie Muir & Chris Grassick and having just his second start for the combination, the 4yo Harbour Watch colt was four times a winner for Muir. Those victories included a Listed race as a juvenile and last year at Royal Ascot in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes, as well as the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes at York after which he was third in the Group 1 St Leger, seemingly finding the extended 1m6f just too severe a stamina test.
He was second on his 2021 comeback in the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket under regular partner Dwyer, Muir’s son-in-law, who has been in the saddle for all bar one of his outings, his juvenile Listed success.
He carries the silks of the La Pyle Partnership having failed to change hands for 10,000gns as a yearling.