Aidan O’Brien’s Spirit Of Valor was narrowly denied by Brave Smash in the Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley.
The Ballydoyle handler saddled four runners in the six-furlong Group One, with Ryan Moore siding with July Cup hero US Navy Flag, who was bidding to bounce back from his disappointing run in The Everest a fortnight ago.
However, along with stablemate Intelligence Cross, US Navy Flag missed the break and the pair never threatened to get involved in the finish.
O’Brien’s fourth runner, Fleet Review, was also well-beaten.
Spirit Of Valor, on the other hand, made a smart start in the hands of Oisin Murphy and raced to the lead rounding the home turn.
The War Front colt gave his all, but was unable to resist the late charge of the Darren Weir-trained Brave Smash under Hugh Bowman and had to make do with the runner-up spot, just as he did in the Group Two Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield earlier this month.