x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Dubai return unlikely for Demuro

Lack of offers for World Cup winner, but jockey is raring to go for Shergar Cup at Ascot.

Jockey Mirco Demuro celebrates victory in the Dubai World Cup on Japanese horse Victoire Pisa
Jockey Mirco Demuro celebrates victory in the Dubai World Cup on Japanese horse Victoire Pisa

London // After Mirco Demuro teamed up with Victoire Pisa in March to win the Dubai World Cup, you would have thought any trainer would have been keen to secure his services.

Demuro was feted the world over for his audacious move aboard the Japanese challenger when, considering the pace inadequate, he manoeuvred his mount from last to first before the pair stayed on to score in the world's richest race, which carried a purse of US$10 million (Dh36.7m).

It was the Italian jockey's only competitive visit to Meydan racecourse this year, on the back of two other rides the season beforehand. But despite that success, the 32-year-old rider has no plans to return to the UAE next season. "Nobody has asked me to ride for them in Dubai since then," he said yesterday. "I don't ride more in Dubai because I don't have a good stable to be attached to. If you go freelance it is very difficult out there."

Demuro has proved himself in the white-hot arena of Japan for the last eight seasons, winning Grade 1 races last year on Victoire Pisa and Grand Prix Boss.

His association with Victoire Pisa is set to continue when the Katsuhiko Sumii-trained colt touches down in Europe next week ahead of a European campaign that is set to culminate in a tilt at the Prix De l'Arc de Triomphe in October.

Demuro will ride work on the four-year-old next week before returning to the hectic Italian racing scene for the next two months.

His ensuing relationship with Grand Prix Boss has not been so fruitful, however. The three-year-old was billed as the best miler in Japan on account of his victory in the NHK Mile at Tokyo in May.

But when pitted against Frankel at Royal Ascot he folded tamely to finish 27 lengths behind the world's best horse in the St James's Palace Stakes.

That Frankel's jockey, Tom Queally, performed a similar manoeuvre to Demuro's Meydan exploits was not lost on the Italian, although he was coy about saying so.

"Frankel is a particular horse," he said. "At Ascot when he accelerated he did not go and stop, like other horses. When you let him go he just passes horses and keeps going. He went very early.

"I wouldn't like to say if Tom's ride was like mine."

Demuro's talents will be showcased this afternoon at Ascot in the Shergar Cup, the international jockeys challenge that includes six races. The competition matches four teams of three jockeys each, with each jockey riding in five races. Points are awarded to the top five finishers in each race.

Demuro has secured some choice rides, most notably Averroes, owned by Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa, the Chairman of the Emirates Equestrian Federation. Although the horse is quietly fancied, Demuro is not considered in the running for the Silver Saddle, the prize awarded to the top jockey at the meeting.

Demuro rides in his third Shergar Cup, having been part of the victorious European team in 2008. He also rode for the Rest of the World side in 2001 when the competition had a different format.

He links up with Olivier Peslier and Christophe Lemaire in the European team and describes both teammates as "complete jockeys". Englishmen Paul Hanagan and Jim Crowley, as well as Hayley Turner, the only woman rider in the competition, form the Great Britain team and are considered the most likely victors of the team event.

"It's a special day and I love to ride in England," Demuro said. "It is very competitive and you are lucky to win. In Italy we call it the home of the horse.

"I don't think English horses like foreign jockeys though."

sports@thenational.ae