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Geraldina has Cristian Demuro eyeing more Group 1 success

The Italian’s short-term licence is reaping rewards and he hopes that continues as he goes into Sunday’s Mile Championship and beyond, with more of Geraldina to look forward to.

Cristian Demuro has his focus fixed to another big Group 1 engagement aboard Piece Of Eight in the Mile Championship this weekend but the in-form Italian rider is allowing himself just a thought about future conquests at home and abroad with Japan’s latest pin-up filly Geraldina.

Demuro steered the daughter of the great Gentildonna to a popular Group 1 victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup last weekend and the combination of class, power and acceleration the four-year-old displayed has him thinking ahead.

“I think she is the kind of mare that could travel out to Dubai next year but first we will see how she runs in the Arima Kinen next and then her connections will decide,” Demuro told Asian Racing Report.

A sizzling Christmas Day edition of the fan-voted Arima Kinen against the boys is a tantalising prospect and the call of Dubai thereafter could present another opportunity for Geraldina to emulate her supremely talented mother who numbered both the Arima Kinen and the Dubai Sheema Classic among her seven Group 1 wins.

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Geraldina is now a Group 1 winner. (Photo by JRA)

Demuro appreciates the privilege he has in riding Geraldina, trained by the rider’s sponsoring trainer Takeshi Saito and owned, like her mother, by Sunday Racing, an affiliate club of Northern Farm, whose boss Katsumi Yoshida is the Italian’s sponsoring owner during his current two-month spell in Japan.

Those are esteemed connections but Demuro also has a keen sense of what Geraldina’s Group 1 success means to Japan’s eager racing fans.

“It was important for the Japanese people, they love this filly because Gentildonna is her mother, so they were waiting to see if she could win a Group 1,” Demuro said.

“It was really important to win for her as a future broodmare also, and for Gentildonna as well. Now that job is done.”

But with that Group 1 box ticked, Demuro believes Geraldina has the attributes to repeat as she continues to mature.

“She won so easily on Sunday against good fillies and it looks like she is improving with age,” he said.

“That was the first time I rode her and in the paddock she was a little bit excited and I was wondering a little bit about this but after that, when she went in the gate, she was a different filly, so easy to ride and she has a good turn-of-foot. She is a really good filly.”

Demuro, who is based in France through the European season, is enjoying his current short-term licence, which began on October 29 and will run until December 28. He has 18 wins on the board from 94 rides, a 19 per cent strike rate, and his mounts have accrued prize money of ¥438,632,000 (approximately US$3,148,500).

Piece Of Eight winning the G3 Mainichi Hai earlier this year. (Photo: JRA).

But the enjoyment is all the greater for being around his big brother Mirco Demuro and his family, with whom he is living at their home in Kyoto. With a 13-year age gap between the sibling jockeys, Demuro said they are a bit like ‘father and son’.

“We spend a lot of time together when I am here, he’s a good brother and we have a good relationship but then at the races we have a lot of competition,” he said.

Demuro is hoping for another Group 1 score this weekend but if it happens it will be one for the ‘pleasantly surprised’ file. His Mile Championship mount, Piece Of Eight, is long odds but was a well-regarded three-year-old prospect in the spring before finishing last when upped to a mile and a half in the Derby.

The Silk Racing-owned colt resumed in mid-August when fifth over 2000 metres but dropped down to a mile for fourth place behind the re-opposing Serifos in the G2 Fuji Stakes at Tokyo last month.

“I rode him (Wednesday) morning, he’s in good condition and I think he’s a mile horse,” Demuro said. “He jumped down to the mile last time and he ran pretty good.

“I think this is a strong race but he can finish in the first five horses if everything goes well. He tried 2400 in the Derby but I think the mile is better for him.”

And with last year’s Derby winner Shahryar set to be his mount in the Japan Cup as well, Demuro is well-placed to maintain his form throughout the rest of his stay.

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