The days of punters underestimating Pyledriver are likely to be over now, such was the impression he created in winning last Wednesday’s Great Voltigeur Stakes. Always travelling strongly towards the rear of the field, he was produced to lead entering the final two furlongs and quickly forged clear, ultimately giving weight and a comprehensive beating to some smart rivals.
Pyledriver attracted little interest at the sales as a foal, being bought back by his breeders for just 10,000 guineas, and he has continued to be overlooked during his career on the racecourse, with his four wins to date coming at odds of 50/1, 14/1, 18/1 and 10/1.
His new Timeform rating after that York success is 123, which identifies him as one of this season’s highest-rated three-year-olds. It also means he is rated 5 lb superior to Santiago, the only horse ahead of him in the ante-post betting for the St Leger, which is reportedly the next big target for Pyledriver.
Admittedly, Santiago is already proven at the trip in his favour, whereas Pyledriver will be going more than two furlongs further at Doncaster than he ever has before, and he doesn’t shape like a certain stayer.
There is unlikely to be a more talented horse in the line-up, however, and the final classic of the season at Doncaster next month promises to provide another interesting chapter in a story that has already exceeded all expectations.
*Prices quoted on these future races are at Antepost odds. If your selection doesn’t run in the race for whatever reason, you lose your stake under the terms of Antepost betting.
Love building towards an even bigger effort
“It would be very hard to say we’ve ever had a more exciting filly than Love.”
Those were the words of Aidan O’Brien after Love had won Thursday’s Yorkshire Oaks, her third Group 1 success in a row. In truth, she never really looked in any danger of defeat, winning by five lengths and making her main rivals look ordinary as only the very best horses can do at Group 1 level.
It also represented a career-best performance in pure form terms, with her Timeform rating now up to 126p from 124p. As for O’Brien’s post-race comments, Love certainly deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the other talented fillies and mares he has trained. Arc and Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Found remains the pick of them with a Timeform rating of 129, while multiple Group 1 winners Magical (128) and Minding (127) are also just ahead of Ballydoyle’s latest superstar as things stand.
However, the most exciting thing about Love is that she remains open to more improvement, and, with all roads now leading to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, she could well eclipse Found if emulating that great mare with victory at Longchamp.
The pick of the two-year-old performances at the Ebor Festival came courtesy of Minzaal, who ran out a very impressive winner of Friday’s Gimcrack Stakes. Well on top at the finish, it was a landmark success for trainer Owen Burrows, who was winning just his second Group 2 race.
It will be no surprise if Minzaal proves capable of giving him his first victory at the top level, too, such was the style of his performance on the Knavesmire, with next month’s Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket likely to be next on his agenda.
Incidentally, the Middle Park Stakes is shaping up to be a red-hot renewal on paper, with top juveniles Lucky Vega (116p), Supremacy (116p), Method (113p) and Minzaal (111p) all looking likely to contest that Group 1 over six furlongs at Newmarket’s Cambridgeshire meeting.
When you consider that three of that quartet share the same sire (Lucky Vega being the exception), then it also has the makings of a red-letter day for Mehmas, who continues to impress with his first crop of runners.
Supremacy and Minzaal have already won at Group 2 level, and you’d get short odds that a Group 1 will soon follow for Mehmas, who was third in the Middle Park on his swansong (to The Last Lion & Bluepoint) before being retired to stud in 2016.
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