All systems go for Pyledriver but Muir forced to miss Saudi trip

William Muir will miss Pyledriver’s bid for the Neom Turf Cup after his trip to Saudi Arabia was derailed by a positive Covid test.

Lambourn-based Muir, who trains the horse alongside Chris Grassick, is experiencing mild symptoms but thankfully his son-in-law and Pyledriver’s regular jockey Martin Dwyer does not have the virus and is poised to take the ride in Riyadh this weekend.

The Group Three Neom Turf Cup, run on Saturday, has a field of 14 and Muir’s Coronation Cup winner has been drawn widest of all.

“I would have been there myself, but I’ve tested positive for Covid so I couldn’t go,” Muir said.

“Martin was fine, he had a negative test so he’s gone out and is there now.

“It’s just frustrating, I’ve got to keep myself away from the staff so they don’t catch it as well.

“I’ve just got a little bit of a cold. A few years a go I wouldn’t have missed any work at all, if I was working for somebody else I’d be feeling guilty that I wasn’t working.”

Muir is still in constant communication with the team in Riyadh and watched a stream of Pyledriver’s work on the track on Thursday morning, with Dwyer feeling the five-year-old is in better form than he was in the run-up to his second-placed Hong Kong Vase effort.

“The horse is in great order, he travelled well to Hong Kong and that was the first time he’s ever done it,” Muir said.

“Since he’s been in Saudi he’s bouncing and kicking, he’s done a breeze this morning on grass, I’ve seen it on video and we were all very happy with it.

“Martin was delighted with him, he did the same thing in Hong Kong – we were walking back off the track together and I said ‘what do you think?’ and he said ‘whatever beats this will win’, and he was right, the one horse that beat us won.

“I asked him this morning how he was and he said he feels better than Hong Kong, he said he feels fresh, he’s alert, he’s just in a very good place.

“We are in a good place, the horse has had everything happen perfectly. We’re happy, we’ve just got to exercise on Friday and then see what happens on the day.”

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