Pyledriver failed to live up to expectations in the Epsom Derby, but bounced back to form in style when storming clear to land the 1m 4f Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes on the opening day of York’s Ebor Festival.
Under a confident waiting ride from regular partner Martin Dwyer, the William Muir trained 10/1 chance was held-up off the pace as Subjectivist set what looked a strong pace at the head of affairs.
He still had plenty to do rounding the home turn as Mark Johnston’s pacesetter got challenged by Berkshire Rocco and the 85/40 favourite Mogul, who won the Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
As that trio locked horns, Pyledriver cruised into contention on the seemingly unfavoured far-side rail. When asked to put the race to bed, he then strode effortlessly clear to slam the running-on Highland Chief by 3 1/2 lengths.
It was then a further half-length back to the third home Mogul for whom there were no excuses. Aidan O’Brien’s charge had every chance two from home, but could only plug on at the one pace.
Given that Pyledriver carried a 3lb penalty as a result of his win in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot prior to Epsom and giving weight all-round, it was a cracking effort and one which marked him out as the real deal.
Analysis: Pyledriver has ideal St Leger attributes
David Metcalf, Horsebetting.com Head Tipster
The St Leger, the final Classic of the season run over an extended 1m 6f at Doncaster on Saturday, 12 September, looks the obvious target for Pyledriver. His enthusiastic band of owners, the La Pyle Partnership, said post race that it was firmly on the agenda.
They are also contemplating having a crack at the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp 24 hours later, but possible travel restrictions for France could scupper any idea of going down that route.
To me, Pyledriver looks the ideal type for the St Leger and the Great Voltigeur is a recognised trial for it. He hit the line hard at York and won with any amount in hand, so I can’t see the extra two furlongs being a problem for him.
Fourteen Great Voltigeur winners have gone on to land the St Leger. The last to do so was Logician 12 months ago, and Pyledriver can be backed at a standout 8/1 with Unibet to follow in his footsteps.
I think he has every chance of doing just that. Pyledriver’s odds mean he is a leading Classic contender for the home team.