Pyledriver stuns opposition and claims King George crown at Ascot

The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot witnessed a surprise winner after Pyledriver put on a dominant display.

A small field of six assembled for the midsummer showdown, with much of the focus on Irish Derby winner Westover. A lot of the attention was also on John and Thady Gosden's duo of Mishriff and Emily Upjohn. 

Due to the strength of the field, William Muir and Chris Grassick's stable star Pyledriver was almost an unconsidered shot, having been priced at 18/1 - that's despite winning at Group One level during last year's Coronation Cup.

The much-anticipated race delivered drama from the off as Mashriff stood still during the opening of the stalls, losing several lengths on the opposition as a result.

Westover and Broome dominated the early proceedings but seemed to soften each other up. Pyledriver, on the other hand, was able to capitalise and move into the lead in the home straight.

German raider Torquator Tasso attempted to strike a late challenge, but there was no catching Pyledriver who won with two and three-quarter lengths in hand.

Torquator Tasso was a clear second, with Mishriff some eight lengths further behind in third.

"I honestly believed I'd win from two weeks ago," said Muir.

"I'd seen him do a piece of work - like last year when he worked with Pogo. Everyone will say 'what a great training performance from Willie Muir and Chris Grassick,' but let's not take too much away - Jeta (Ram, work rider) does most of it. He rides him and every single morning I ask him, 'what shall we do today, Jeta?'

"I thought we'd do a good, strong piece of work and he said 'I thought I'd give him a little bit stronger' - giving him seven furlongs and give him seven lengths to make up and he caught him. The seven-furlong horse is very good.

"I'm driving the box back - I don't get away with anything! I've said I never wanted to cry, but I want to cry today.

"I thought for the last two weeks we'd win it. I didn't care what was in it. I know they say Westover was fantastic in the Irish Derby. I know they say Emily Upjohn was terrific, but we know this horse is a very, very good horse.

"He was just showing everything at home - all the signs."

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