Derby-winning jockey Martin Dwyer has admitted he will not be fit to ride Pyledriver in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes as he continues his recover from a knee injury that has seen him sidelined for 15 months.
The Liverpool-born jockey, who turns 48 on Wednesday, partnered Sir Percy to Epsom Classic glory in 2006 for Marcus Tregoning and was preparing to ride Pyledriver in last year’s Dubai Sheema Classic when hurt riding out for Brian Meehan.
Dwyer severely twisted his knee when a leather iron broke and he suffered a torn ACL in March 2022.
A length recovery process has still not been completed and Dwyer said it was “tough” watching the William Muir and Chris Grassick-trained Pyledriver’s victory in Saturday’s Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.
“I had an operation to remove scar tissue about six weeks ago. It has helped, I’m moving forward. I’m going back to see the surgeon this week and get a bit more of an update,” said Dwyer.
“I got on a rowing machine last week, which was a massive step forward, then my knee swelled up.
“The surgeons are happy and mechanically it is working. He has kind of fixed it, but it is a bit like when you have a horse with an injury. You think, ‘he’s so much better now, we’ll give him a canter,’ but when you canter him he’s lame the next day. That’s where I am, to sum it up.”
Pyledriver was having his first run since his King George success under PJ McDonald last July.
The six-year-old, who had been off the track for 336 days with injury, took his earnings to just shy of £2 million in beating West Wind Blows in Saturday’s Group Two contest.
He has taken his race well, according to Muir, who said: “He’s grand this morning. He’s really good, come out of it like a gazelle. He went up there as good as he did yesterday morning, so I’ve got no bothers there at all.
“He trotted out well, looked a picture and it’s brilliant.”
He now looks set to defend his title on July 29, with McDonald again likely to deputise for Muir’s son-in-law.
“I would love to be fit for the King George, but that’s long odds-against to happen,” said Dwyer.
“It was tough watching again yesterday. I was delighted for the team.
“It was brilliant and great to see him bounce back like that. William has done a great job, as it was touch and go there for a while that the horse would ever run again.
“It was mixed emotions, watching him run, but delighted for everyone.”
Dwyer, who has split his time between providing his expertise as a TV pundit and Lambourn’s Oaksey House rehabilitation centre, is not openly entertaining thoughts of retirement and praised the care he has received.
“Even just to get back to normal life, being able to run for a bus – I’ve been throwing the kitchen sink at it in rehab,” added Dwyer.
“I just have to focus on that and just get back to normal life and walk the dog.
“They are great at Oaksey House. The physios have been superb. Jerry Hill, the BHA doctor, speaks personally to my surgeon, they communicate and try different things, so I could not be better looked after.
“The physio at Oaksey House even came with me to see the surgeon. We are leaving no stone unturned, trying everything and let’s hope it works.”