Oisin Murphy was was hit a 15-meeting suspension after steering Spirit Of Valor to finish second in the Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley.
Murphy has travelled to Australia to partner Saeed bin Suroor’s Benbatl in Saturday’s Cox Plate, where he will be aiming to deny the wonder-mare Winx an historic victory in the prestigious prize.
Aidan O’Brien snapped up Murphy to ride Spirit Of Valor in Friday’s Group One feature and the pair very nearly claimed victory, racing into the lead rounding the home turn before being mowed down by the Darren Weir-trained Brave Smash under Hugh Bowman.
The stewards charged Murphy with careless riding and while he was able to defer the suspension to start after the Breeders’ Cup – where he is due to partner Roaring Lion in the Breeders’ Cup Classic – he will miss the ride on the Ed Dunlop-trained Red Verdon in the Melbourne Cup.
Spirit Of Valor comfortably fared best of O’Brien’s four runners in the Manikato Stakes in second, just as he did in the Group Two Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield earlier this month.
Ryan Moore sided 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.
“We were delighted with Spirit Of Valor. He ran a great race,” O’Brien told Press Association Sport
“US Navy Flag just missed the break again and got caught behind two, so he didn’t really get into it at all, but we’re delighted with the horse that was second.
“There is a race in two weeks in Flemington that they might run in again, but we’ll just see how they come out of this.”