AT the start of yesterday’s Juddmonte International, Crystal Ocean was rated as the best racehorse on the planet. As it turned out, he wasn’t even the best horse at York.

The script had Crystal Ocean serving it up to Enable, who will strut her stuff in today’s Yorkshire Oaks, ahead of the pair’s anticipated meeting at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp. Instead, the picture in France became markedly less clear thanks to a stellar performance from Japan.

Long touted as the best three-year-old in Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle battalions despite finishing third behind stable mate Anthony Van Dyck in the Derby, Japan took a major step forward when he triumphed in the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp last month.

That win was over a mile-and-a-half, but the step back to a mile-and-a-quarter proved no problem as Japan edged out Crystal Ocean in a thrilling finish to one of the classiest Juddmonte Internationals for quite some years.

Crystal Ocean looked to have put things to bed when James Doyle sent him clear two furlongs out, but Ryan Moore was always confident as he sat on the outside with Japan, and while it needed a photo to confirm things, the head success was probably a bit more comfortable than the winning margin suggests.

“He’s a beautiful horse with a great temperament,” said Moore, after Japan was immediately cut to a best-priced 5-1 for the Arc. “From the moment he ran here in the Dante earlier in the season, he has only kept on improving. He had to fight very hard to win, but he kept on battling right to the line.

“He’s really progressed, and he’ll continue to get better I think. Crystal Ocean is a very good horse, and he obviously got in front so it was a very hard battle, but fortunately this lad has got there very late.

“He’s a fantastic ride and a fantastic mover, and he’s just getting better. He hasn’t put a foot wrong his whole life.”

Japan is also entered in the St Leger at Doncaster next month, but having triumphed over a mile-and-a-quarter, it is surely unlikely that O’Brien will step him up another half-a-mile for the final Classic.

While O’Brien can still call on the likes of Anthony Van Dyck, Sir Dragonet or Broome in the Leger, John Gosden looks to have the stand-out candidate in the shape of Logician, who continued his rapid rise through the ranks as he claimed the Group Two Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes yesterday.

Having made quite an impression when he won a handicap at odds of 1-5 on his previous outing, Logician took the step up to Group company in his stride as jockey Frankie Dettori delivered a typically-assured front-running display.

“He was a little bit green when he hit the front, but he’s a very young horse and he’d only had three runs,” said Gosden. “He didn’t get to do much as a two-year-old, so he’s still learning, but we’re delighted with him.

“He’s obviously entered in the St Leger, so we’ll just have to see how he is over the next ten days or so. He’s already jumped quite a long way, and I’ve won the Leger a few times so I sort of know what it takes.

“He’s a classy colt, and he’s got a lot about him. When he hit the front, there was a bit of a sense that he didn’t know where he was going, but he’s won a maiden, a novice and a 90-rated handicap. This was a big leap in class, but he handled it.”