11/24/2014 1:41PM

Da Silva, Contreras to ride in Tokyo this weekend

Michael Burns
Eurico Rosa Da Silva celebrates winning the Nijinsky aboard Up With the Birds on July 19 at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva, who piloted Up With the Birds to his only win of this season in the Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes at Woodbine on July 19, will have the mount for Sunday’s Group 1 Japan Cup at Tokyo Racecourse.

“I’m very excited,” Da Silva said. “I’m grateful for [owner] Sam-Son [Farm] to invite me to ride the horse. I just hope he runs a good race, and I think he will because he’s doing very well right now.”

Da Silva sits third in the Woodbine jockeys’ standings with 136 wins, 16 of which have come in stakes events, including last Sunday’s Grade 2 Kennedy Road Stakes with Calgary Cat. Da Silva also guided Coltimus Prime to a victory in the Prince of Wales Stakes this year. Da Silva said he has raced in Asia before but never in Japan.

“I’ve been to Singapore and Macau, but I’ve never been racing in Japan,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it. This trip makes my year.”

Da Silva was scheduled to depart for Japan on Tuesday and miss this week of racing at Woodbine.

Joining him in Tokyo will be Luis Contreras, who has accepted an invitation to participate in the World Super Jockey Series there Friday and Saturday.

“They called me and asked if I wanted to ride for North America, so I’m pretty excited,” Contreras said. “I’ve never been to Japan. It should be fun.”

Contreras is the lone jockey representing North America in the four-race challenge, which pits eight top Japanese jockeys against eight jockeys from around the world. Other jockeys taking part include the Europeans Ryan Moore, who won the Canadian International last month on Hillstar, and defending World Super Jockey Series champion Richard Hughes. Top Japanese jockeys participating include Yasunari Iwata, Keita Tosaki, and Masayoshi Ebina.

Each jockey will be awarded points based on his finish position in each challenge race. The jockey with the most points after Friday’s two challenge races and Saturday’s two challenge races will win the competition and pocket about $30,000 in prize money.

Riding assignments for the four races will be drawn Wednesday.