Panthalassa produced a remarkable front-running performance to strike gold for Japan in the $20million Saudi Cup, edging past Country Grammer.
The Bob Baffert-trained Country Grammer was narrowly denied in the world's most valuable race 12 months ago when ridden by Flavien Prat, before providing Frankie Dettori with a fourth Dubai World Cup success at Meydan a few weeks later.
Following victory in California on Boxing Day, the six-year-old returned to Riyadh as one of two leading contenders for the Baffert team along with multiple Grade One winner Taiba, but Panthalassa set a strong gallop from the off at the King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh and could not be reeled in.
Trained by Yoshito Yahagi and ridden by Yutaka Yoshida, Panthalassa dead-heated in last year's Dubai Turf with Lord North who earlier in the day had landed a far less lucrative Winter Derby at Lingfield.
Such was the pace Panthalassa set, Baffert's pair were under pressure before the home turn and it briefly looked like it could be a Japanese one-two-three-four with a trio of compatriots chasing Panthalassa up the straight.
But Dettori conjured a storming late rally out of Country Grammer, with the line coming just too soon as he was narrowly denied once again.