William Muir is “tip-toeing along” with injury-hit Pyledriver but has set his sights on the end of the year, with options abroad in focus.
A minor setback kept the Coronation Cup winner firstly out of the King George at Ascot and more recently the Juddmonte International at York.
Muir, who trains the four-year-old in partnership with Chris Grassick, has been at pains not to rush him back – and as a result has taken Champions Day and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe off the menu, with a possible run in Germany on the cards.
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“I’ll let him tell me when he’s ready. After York I said I wouldn’t set more targets and we’d just go easy for 10 days and trot for a couple of weeks,” said Muir.
“I’m just going to take my time, it’s something minor but I want him to heal properly and not have any scars in his mind.
“He’s jumping out of his skin at the moment, he’s so fresh and well. I would say the first race we could think about looking at is on November 7 which is the last Group One in Europe (Grosser Preis von Bayern in Munich).
“I’m not saying we are definitely going, but it’s something we could look at before he went to Hong Kong.
“I just want to give him all the time he needs because we could start him back and if he was still feeling it he would accommodate for it and pick up a problem somewhere else.
“Basically he’s in wonderful form, he’s like a raging bull, but we’re tip-toeing along. He’s had his break and then we can see where we go.”
Muir and Grassick send an interesting runner to Goodwood on Friday in Country Pyle, a New Approach half-sister to Pyledriver who was a promising second on her debut at Newbury.
“I think she’s a very nice filly, but she’s probably weaker and taller than he was at this age,” said Muir.
“She’s been brought along gently, she was too weak to run at two but she ran a lovely race on her debut.
“Goodwood is a different type of track, but it shouldn’t be an issue. When Martin (Dwyer) came back after Newbury he said if you’d run that race again now that she’s had one, she’d be a different filly.
“She’s come on loads for that race, she’s switched on now and I’d be hopeful she can do a good job. I think she’ll be a very smart filly next year, but this is a year to build for next year.”
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