Leading Italian jockey Mirco Demuro warmed up for his St James’s Palace Stakes ride on top Japanese colt Grand Prix Boss in the best possible way: winning the Group 1 Gran Premio di Milano at San Siro on the 4.3-1 shot Voila Ici.
Beating the German-trained favourite Scalo by a neck, Demuro further enhanced his already impressive record aboard Voila Ici, a six-year-old grey son of Daylami, winner in 1999 for Godolphin of the Coronation Cup, King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, Irish Champion Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Turf. Demuro has now ridden Voila Ici in his last 20 races, ten of which the pair has won. Seven of these victories have come in Pattern races, with the Gran Premio di Milano being their second Group One triumph together.
One of the very few disappointing runs in Voila Ici’s career came when he represented Italy in last year’s Japan Cup, in which he could only finish 16th of the 18 runners. That was a rare reverse in Japan for Demuro, whose record there in recent years marks him down as the most successful European jockey in that country.
Demuro enjoyed a particularly purple patch in Japan towards the end of last year when on consecutive weekends at Nakayama he partnered Grand Prix Boss to win Japan’s top two-year-old race, the Asahi Hai Futurity, and then won the country’s premier weight-for-age race, the Arima Kinen, on Victoire Pisa. Under the circumstances, it is easy to understand why he has been given the call-up to ride the star Japanese colt on his European debut.