Brave Smash wins the 2018 Manikato Stakes

October 27, 2018

Brave Smash wins the 2018 Manikato Stakes

Brave Smash bounced back from a last start defeat to win the 2018 Group 1 $1m Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes (1200m) at The Valley on Friday night.

Brave Smash, above, was the winner of the 2018 Manikato Stakes at The Valley. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Brave Smash, above, was the winner of the 2018 Manikato Stakes at The Valley. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Trainer Darren Weir decided to put the blinkers on Brave Smash after the import failed to handle the heavy track when eighth to Redzel in the $13m The Everest (1200m) at Randwick a fortnight ago.

“The plan was to put the blinkers on in the Everest but Hughie said he probably didn’t need them, but he needed them tonight to get in the right spot,” Weir said.

“He got a great ride. He pinged the gates and got into a really nice spot.

“We thought we had him right going to Sydney but in the end it was the track.

“You get it wrong a lot but we got it right tonight.”

Brave Smash ($8.50) was one of the first to leave the barriers with the blinkers on and Hugh Bowman was able to settle the six year old just behind the pace in the middle stages of the race.

Bowman eased Brave Smash out coming to the home turn and gave him plenty of open space to run down the leader Spirit Of Valor ($18) in the final fifty metres.

The James Cummings trained Kementari settled near the tail of the field but flashed home late out wide to grab third spot just ahead of Spright ($17).

The Aidan O’Brien trained Irish Sprinter Spirit Of Valor had to be used up early to cross from the outside barrier in the fourteen horse field and did a great job to fight hard and hang on for second and travelling foreman T J Comerford said that the stable was happy with the run.

“Aidan is very happy,” Comerford said.

“It’s not easy bringing sprinters down here to Australia but he’s done a great job.”

Three year old filly Sunlight was sent out as the $4.40 favourite but found herself racing in amongst runners after failing to show her customary early speed and was never in the hunt and finished in seventh position.

The Manikato Stakes win was Brave Smash’s second Group 1 win for Weir since the sprinter arrived from Japan and added to his win in the Group 1 $500,000 italktravel Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield during the 20118 Melbourne Autumn Carnival.

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