Cherry Tortoni landed a dominant three-length victory in the Adelaide Guineas at Morphettville on Saturday in a performance that had race caller, Brett Davis, labelling the three-year-old a ‘different class’ to his competitors.
Rounding the turn in the 1600m listed event, jockey Todd Pannell eased the Patrick Payne trained galloper to the outside before the pair finished ahead of Casino Seventeen and Spooning, who finished second and third respectively.
“Cherry Tortoni is absolutely in second gear and is now pushed on to go on and take the lead,” Davis said as Cherry Tortoni let loose on the Morphettville home turn.
“Cherry Tortoni, he is in a different class.”
Pannell said the win on Cherry Tortoni felt as impressive as it looked to racing for fans and backers.
“When he started to stride out from the 600m onwards, I was pretty comfortable he had them covered,” Pannell said.
The South Australian jockey, who was having his first ride on the Sandy Tait and Jill Nivison bred and owned galloper, went into the race confident on the $2.20 favourite.
“It looked like Paddy (Payne) had it set in stone to come here for this race,” Pannell said.
“When it just dropped a way with a few scratchings and was a field of 10, it looked a real good race for him today.”
Pannell was forced to work hard for the win, with a slower than usual pace meaning Cherry Tortoni was forced to spend the entirety of the race three and four wide.
“It was very slow early on, and he began good, and he felt like he was going to get into a good spot, but the pace was just too slow and thankfully, I was still able to get cover for most parts of the race,” Pannell said.
“He was exposed early, and he did hit the front early, but his class did get him there at the top of the straight – he did have a look around, but that class got him over the line.”
Pannell explained that being caught wide was probably a blessing in disguise for the noted backmarker, who generally relies on a big finish to get him over the line.
“At the same time, I was glad to be in that spot, and let him move into the race, instead of being cluttered up on the fence or anything else like that,” Pannell said.
After his listed win on Saturday, the locally bred gelding is now a winner of five races from 13 starts and has amassed just shy of $750,000 in prizemoney.
Payne explained that it was Cherry Tortoni’s love affair with the big, flat track at Flemington which led him to believe that Morphettville would suit his galloper – a decision that paid dividends.
“That’s why we were keen to go to Morphettville because of its similarities with Flemington. He seems to want those open tracks,” Payne said.
Payne was now adamant the son of Night of Thunder, who is out of Tortoni, was an out and out miler, with the Group 1, $1.5 million Cantala Stakes firmly in his sites.
“The Cantala is the cream but in this game, we’ll have plan B and C,” he said after Saturday’s win. “But I think the mile is his distance.
For the moment, the youngster will take a well-deserved break.
“I think we’ll give him a rest now as he’s had a busy time as a two and three-year-old,” he said.
“He did a good job today and we don’t need to go again with him.”
Article courtesy of Jeff Hanson – Tumut and Adelong Times