Sunday Racing's Gentildonna will look for an unprecedented third consecutive victory in the Japan Cup when she squares off against 17 others at Tokyo Racecourse Sunday afternoon.
The 5-year-old daughter of Deep Impact won the 2012 rendition over reigning Horse of the Year Orfevre, and captured last year's race in a thrilling finish over Denim and Ruby. She has scored nine wins from 17 lifetime starts and is coming into this race off an identical schedule to last year's, with runs in the Dubai Sheema Classic, Takarazuka Kinen, and Tenno Sho Autumn.
Three international contenders have signed up to take on the local horses, including Sam-Son Farm's Up With the Birds, winner of this year's Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes and the Grade 1 Jamaica Handicap in 2013. Last seen in October's Knickerbocker Stakes, he will be ridden by Canadian jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva.
The other two foreign-based runners in the Japan Cup are Godolphin's Irish Derby winner Trading Leather, third in the Irish Champion Stakes on Sept. 13, and Ivanhowe, a multiple Group 1 winner in Germany.
Among the Japanese horses in the race is Just a Way, emphatic winner of the Dubai Duty Free Stakes in March who was eighth last out in the Arc de Triomphe. He currently sits atop the Longines World's Best Thoroughbred Ratings, a position he has held since April.
Other local contenders include last year's runner-up Denim and Ruby, Japanese Derby 1-2 finishers One and Only and Isla Bonita, Harp Star, who was sixth in the Arc de Triomphe last out, and multiple Group 1 winner Fenomeno.
Full field and barrier draw for the Japan Cup can be found here.
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