Payne Looking Forward To Clear Guineas Run

Cherry Tortoni
Cherry Tortoni will try to win the Group One Australian Guineas for jockey Billy Egan.

Patrick Payne wasn’t perturbed with Cherry Tortoni’s wide barrier draw in the Australian Guineas as he believes that should suit his style of racing.

Payne said barrier 17 would work for Cherry Tortoni in terms of his galloping style as it would give him plenty of room.

Payne felt at Cherry Tortoni’s previous run in the C S Hayes Stakes where he finished fourth he didn’t like being caught inside of horses.

On that occasion, Cherry Tortoni drew barrier five and didn’t get clear galloping room until late in the race.

“That didn’t suit him as he didn’t like being tight on the corners. From that draw he can have a good, peaceful run and he will be ridden conservatively,” Payne said.

Payne said Cherry Tortoni would take improvement from the Australian Guineas and come out of the race in better condition for the Alister Clark Stakes.

“He had a fairly busy time as a three-year-old. He’s returned a lot stronger,” Payne said.

Payne thinks Cherry Tortoni, who is second up, might be one run short going into Saturday’s 1600 metre feature.

“If he gets reasonable luck I think he would finish in the first four to six,” Payne said.

After the Alister Clark Stakes, Payne will take Cherry Tortoni to Sydney for the Australian Derby in early April.

Last spring, Cherry Tortoni won the Moonee Valley Vase over 2040 metres before finishing fourth in the Victoria Derby.

Payne’s other runner is three-year-old Japery, who will contest the $500,000 Inglis Dash.

“He’s back down the straight which will suit. I’m not sure he’s up to these horses but the prize money is too good to ignore,” he said.

Payne has decided to start his in-form middle-distance galloper Defibrillate in Saturday week’s Australian Cup.

“I had a good look at the entries and it’s not a vintage Australian Cup,” he said.

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