Will O'Callaghan
Will O'Callaghan

16.17 21 Aug 2019


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Aidan O'Brien's Japan has edged out the highly-rated Crystal Ocean in a thrilling finish to the Juddmonte International Stakes at York.

With jockey Ryan Moore on board, the three-year-old held off the 10/11 favourite by just a head at the line with Elarqam in third.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Crystal Ocean had come into the four day Ebor Festival as the highest-rated horse in the world having pushed Enable all the way in the recent King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

Japan's win handed O'Brien a record-equaling sixth success in the race, joining Stoute at the summit of the standings.

"Ryan was over the moon with him, he's got better and better. We saw he got a mile and a half and we didn't want to bottom him today which is why we came back to a mile and a quarter with the autumn coming", the Ballydoyle handler said of the win.

"We couldn't be happier and the team back home have done a magnificent job. He had an easy race in Longchamp, it was a steadily-run race and he quickened and got to the front. It was very easy for him and we knew he wouldn't go and win by far.

"He's a lovely relaxed horse and has loads of class. The first time he showed us that real class was when he won the Beresford when he beat two of ours which we knew were good horses.

"We rushed him to get back ready for the Dante but every run has been a step up. The three-year-olds are better than anyone thinks. The King George was a bit of a disaster with the soft ground and it didn't work out but that wasn't a true reading of the three-year-old form.

"The lads will see what they want to do but it'll be something like going straight to the Arc, or we'll maybe take in the Irish Champion Stakes on the way."


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