Mirco Demuro, who rode Japanese raider Victoire Pisa to victory in the 2011 edition of the Dubai World Cup, is back at Meydan this Saturday.
The Italian jockey will be riding in the Dubai Gold Cup Sponsored by Al Tayer Motors, the UAE Derby Sponsored by the Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group and the Dubai Sheema Classic Presented by Longines.
On Thursday morning the 37-year-old jockey, who has been calling Japan his home for 12 months now, could be seen working the German filly Paradise (GER) on the grass training track at Meydan.
“You know, the first time I came here it was to ride for a German trainer,” he said. “I think it was in 2000, so it was still at the old track at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse. I rode Noel for Hans Blume in the Dubai Sheema Classic, which was won by Fantastic Light that year. So I guess I have always had an affinity with German horses.”
He paused, smiled and added: “As to Paradise, I had never ridden her before this morning. My brother Cristian has ridden her a couple of times, but not me. She seems in good form, but she is tiny! A really small filly, but she does have a huge heart. I mean she was fourth in the Gran Premio del Jockey Club in Italy last year, so she definitely has talent.”
Demuro is delighted to be back at Meydan after his exploits with Victoire Pisa. Since then, a lot of things have changed in the life of the likeable jockey and he confirmed: “I had a couple of years of trying to find a base for myself after Italian racing went through a huge crisis.
“Between 2012 and 2014, I rode in France and in England, which I found very hard as there is so much travelling in the car involved, as you go from an afternoon meeting to an evening meeting right across the country. It didn’t really suit me.”
Having spent every winter in Japan for the last 17 years, it was only a natural progression to try to move there permanently. He explained: “I love Japan. I really feel at home there. I have two daughters, who are aged 8 and 5, and both of them are learning Japanese.
“I am based in Kyoto and the racing is just fantastic. Every weekend there are 12,000 people who come to the races and I am really lucky as I have fabulous owners and trainers. We have a very good relationship, as they trust me and I trust them. I had a great season last year, as I won five Group 1 races and I couldn’t imagine my life anywhere else now.”
Demuro will be partnering two Japanese raiders this Saturday. He will be on board the Hideyuki Mori-trained On The Rocks (JPN) in the Group 2 UAE Derby and on Noriyuki Hori trained Duramente (JPN) in the Dubai Sheema Classic.
“Duramente is a good ride, but there is a very nice horse in there with Postponed, who looks hard to beat,” he said. “It is a really tough race. We are drawn four, which is OK. He can be keen a bit, but we will see.
“As to On The Rocks, we will have to beat the filly (Polar River), who is unbelievable. My horse won just a maiden in Japan and then didn’t run well on the dirt in Japan. But the dirt here is different, so hopefully he will run better. We hope so.”