The Patrick Payne-trained Cherry Tortoni was at his very best on Saturday when taking out the $200,000 Listed Golden Mile at Bendigo.
Saturday’s victory was the fourth stakes win for the four-year-old gelding, adding to his record which now stands at six wins, three seconds and two thirds from 19 starts.
In a typical effort, the Night of Thunder gelding that is out of Tortoni, sat well off the pace but finished with a strong burst for jockey, Michael Dee, who has now won this race three times.
Dee was also at his best, and he took the Sandy Tait and Jill Nivison-owned galloper four-wide into the straight before pushing the button at the 300m mark and kicking away from placegetters Hi Stranger and Milford.
“He was massive, he’s been absolutely flying this whole prep and building very nicely for coming here today,” Dee said.
“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.”
Cherry Tortoni has now amassed over $900,000 in prizemoney for connections, and his trainer Patrick Payne will take his time deciding what the future holds for the gelding.
“I was thinking there might be a race for him in Adelaide, but we’ll just wait and see. As I’ve said, he’s only a young horse and we don’t need to rush him,” Payne said.
“It was a strong field, it was no pinch, he had to be at his best but he was much better with blinkers on and he got the right run.”
Tait and Nivison will be hoping the winners keep rolling along at Wagga on Sunday with the Tim Donnelly-trained Dolphina taking on 1800m Benchmark 66.
The Wagga runner is a last start winner, taking out the 1600m Benchmark 58 Handicap at Albury on March 24 with Kayla Nisbet in the saddle and the Casino Prince mare has now won three times and placed three times in 13 starts.