Pyledriver pursuing $20 million Saudi Cup purse

Muir and Grassick's Pyledriver remains an international money making phenomenon and has been targeted at the Saudi Cup, which, with a $20 million purse, is the world's richest horse race.

Pyledriver is on the hunt for more international riches as he remains on course for the $20 million Saudi Cup in late February.

The five-year-old went for the the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin in December, and was was only beaten a length by prior winner Glory Vase.

Trainers William Muir and Chris Grassick, said the horse was in good condition following his Hong Kong ding-dong and booked in a busy winter because the the son of Harbour Watch had forgone much of the summer campaign due to a slight groin injury.

Now a Middle-East, campaign is on the cards with the Sheema Classic at the Dubai World Cup meeting the next potential port of call after Pyledriver's bid for the world's richest race.

"It was always our next step because he had all of last summer off and had a break, but it wasn't like he was in his box and doing nothing," said Muir.

"We couldn't get him right for the Juddmonte International, so we gave him a break to bring him back for Hong Kong, then Saudi and Dubai.

"He lost a wee bit of weight coming home (from Hong Kong) but he's put it on - and more - he's not stopped or just been moseying around, he's been doing two canters.

"He is thriving from going out and getting the sunshine and coming home, he's absolutely thriving and he's in really, really good shape."

Pyledriver handled the arduous journey to Hong Kong nicely and was evidently able to run well after a long flight, something Muir finds reassuring ahead of his next trip overseas to the King Abdulaziz racecourse in Riyadh.

"That helps, with him I can think 'well that's easy now, what's the problem?'," he said.

"That's on the agenda to go there, that's what we're training for. We're trying to peak for that weekend."

After the Saudi Cup and Sheema Classic, Muir and Grassick have pencilled in a rest, before a return to the UK turf, with stellar races like the Juddmonte and King George in sight, before the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and an eventual return to Hong Kong if all goes well.

"That's where we'll try to end up (Dubai), go there and come back home, have a break and see if we can pick him up for the second part of our season," said Muir.

"Whether that will be the King George or the Juddmonte I don't know, it depends which one comes at the right time basically.

"He'll be back about then and hopefully we'll do that and have one race before the Arc and then back to Hong Kong."

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