Martin Dwyer began riding at 15 and, 30 years later, the Liverpool-born jockey (a devout Everton fan) is still going strong.
His proudest moment in the saddle came when winning the Derby aboard the Marcus Tregoning-trained Sir Percy in 2006, having landed the Oaks three years earlier on Casual Look for Andrew Balding.
Other significant wins for him include the Dewhurst (Sir Percy in 2005), King’s Stand Stakes (Dominica in 2002) plus Canadian International (2003) and Hong Kong Vase (2004). He won the last two on Andrew Balding’s globetrotting Phoenix Reach.
Big winners and rides in big races have been in short supply in recent years but in 2020 he enjoyed a lucrative partnership with Pyledriver, trained by William Muir, his father-in-law.
The combination landed the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot plus the Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes at York after a luckless run in the Investec Derby in-between. They also combined to finish a close third in the Pertemps St Leger.
“If I’m totally honest, for the last four or five years I thought my days of riding horses as good as Pyledriver were gone,” Dwyer admitted. “To get another bite at the cherry is fantastic. He’s definitely up there among the best horses I’ve ridden. He’s been a bit of a slow-burner but his progression has been unbelievable. William and his team have done a tremendous job.”
Dwyer can look forward to more big days with Pyledriver in 2021. He began the year with 1,497 winners to his name – his best year being in 2002 when he partnered 106.