Born & Raised: Victoria Derby in Payne’s sights for Cherry Tortoni

Trainer Patrick Payne has started to think of the Victoria Derby with Cherry Tortoni after he successfully handled his latest test in the Listed Taj Rossi Series Final at Flemington.

Victoria Derby in Payne's sights for Cherry Tortoni
Cherry Tortoni started his career with a win over 1200m at Sale before progressing to a 1420m victory at Flemington second-up before remaining unbeaten at his first go at 1600m. Cherry Tortoni settled worse than midfield before finishing too well for the Godolphin galloper Alcyone, who didn’t shirk his task, to score by a short head.
The chestnut carried the red jacket and white cap silks of siblings Sandy Tait and Jill Nivison, who raced the great galloper Tie The Knot.

Tie The Knot ran second to Second Coming when favourite for the 1997 Victoria Derby while Payne rode the grand performer to three Group I wins in the last 12 months of his illustrious career.

Payne has trained with success for Tait and Nivison for a few years. He said Tait always held a decent opinion of Cherry Tortoni.

“He’s a lovely horse to deal with. So are the owners, the Taits,” Payne said.

“When Sandy Tait sent him to me he said this is one of the nicest horses I’ve sent down.

“He could be a Derby horse, I’ll be guided by him. I’m not sure how good he’d be against the smarter three-year-olds over 1200 or 1400 metres so I’ll give him short break and look to an early spring mile race.”

Cherry Tortoni’s jockey Billy Egan was pleased the exciting two-year-old had a strong test in the Taj Rossi Series Final.

“It was an impressive win today. I thought it was an even race and everything got their chance,” Egan said.

I noticed that when I went for him that I really had to stick into him today to get past them. The other day there were a couple that were unlucky so we didn’t know what they really had under the hood.

“Today they tested him but it was good to see him put them away still.”

Two-time AFL premiership-winning coach Denis Pagan enjoyed a thrilling start to his time as a trainer when his first runner Johnny Get Angry exceeded market expectations to run third at $81.

“He was terrific,” Pagan said. “Just got held up for a while but when he got out, terrific. Really gives us a positive outlook for the future.

“There’s a race here in a fortnight time over 1800 metres”

Article courtesy of Racenet.