11/27/2014 4:20PM

Up With the Birds faces toughest test in Japan Cup

Michael Burns
Up With the Birds and jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva win the Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes in July.

Up With the Birds, the winner of the Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes in July at Woodbine and five other stakes in his career, will face the most difficult test of his career in Sunday’s $4.4 million Japan Cup at Tokyo Racecourse.

Trained by Malcolm Pierce for Sam-Son Farm, Up With the Birds is the only North American-based runner in a field of 18 in the Japan Cup, which is run over 1 1/2 miles on turf. Up With the Birds will be ridden by the Woodbine-based Eurico Rosa Da Silva.

Up With the Birds was fourth in the Arlington Million at Arlington Park in August and second in the Grade 2 Knickerbocker at Belmont Park on Oct. 11 in his most recent start.

The Japan Cup field is led by Just a Way, the winner of the $5 million Dubai Duty Free Stakes at Meydan Racecourse in March, and Gentildonna, the winner of the Japan Cup in 2012 and 2013.

Just a Way was eighth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in Paris on Oct. 5. Gentildonna was second in the Grade 1 Tenno Sho at Tokyo Racecourse on Nov. 2 to Spielberg, who is part of the Japan Cup field. Gentildonna won the $5 million Sheema Classic in Dubai in March.