Cherry Tortoni scores Golden win at Bendigo

A smart ride by Michael Dee has seen Cherry Tortoni break back into the winner’s circle at Bendigo.

Success in the Listed Golden Mile (1600m) on Saturday was Cherry Tortoni’s first since taking out the Listed Adelaide Guineas (1600m) at Morphettville last May.

The Patrick Payne-trained gelding invariably gets back in his races, but on Saturday the gelding jumped smartly from his wide draw and Dee was able to find a position closer to the lead.

Sent out the $4.20 favourite, Cherry Tortoni scored a three-quarter length victory from Hi Stranger ($13) with Milford ($20) a half-length away third.

Cherry Tortoni was an eye-catching run at Flemington at his latest outings when a closing third behind Gentleman Roy over 1600m on March 19.

“He was massive,” Dee said.

“He’s been absolutely flying this whole prep and building very nicely for coming here today.

“The only concern for myself was the barrier draw but I had full faith in Patrick and his team, and the way Cherry is going at the moment.”

“He didn’t tow me into the race but every time I asked of him, he just kept picking up.

“The way I was going he hit the front quite soon in the straight and he probably would have been in front for the last furlong for sure.

“As it turned out he had a good look around and wanted to go in and out, so it was a good effort.”

Payne said the addition of blinkers had helped Cherry Tortoni who needed to be at his best to land the prize in what he described a strong field.

“He’s a very genuine horse and maybe he’s tagged with a little bit of a stink next to his name, but he’s a very honest horse and he’s still only a young horse,” Payne said.

“I was thinking there might be a race for him in Adelaide, but we’ll just wait and see.

“As I said, he’s only a young horse and we don’t need to rush him.”

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