Cherry Tortoni ready for Guineas clash

Patrick Payne regards taking on Glenfiddich as a daunting task for his emerging three-year-old Cherry Tortoni in the Group One Caulfield Guineas.

At his last start, Cherry Tortoni ran on strongly to finish second to Glenfiddich in the Stutt Stakes, beaten two lengths, and Payne isn’t confident he can make up that leeway on Saturday in the 1600 metre feature at Caulfield.

“I liked his run at The Valley. It was his first time under lights and he finished on well to run second behind a good horse in Glenfiddich and the third horse, Holyfield, is also a pretty smart horse,” Payne said.

“I think Glenfiddich could be a star and I don’t think we can beat him but you never know.

“There’s likely to be a bit more pressure on in a Caulfield Guineas.

“He’s fit and well and this race fits in with his program, which will be the Vase and then the Victoria Derby after this.”

Payne said he was considering putting blinkers on Cherry Tortoni for the Caulfield Guineas, in which he will be ridden by regular partner Billy Egan.

“He’s very casual early on in his races. If I put blinkers on him he might settle a little closer,” Payne said.

“I don’t think it will make a huge difference but it might make a difference.”

Cherry Tortoni won his first three starts before finishing third on resumption in the Exford Plate and second in the Stutt Stakes.

Cherry Tortoni’s dam, Tortoni, is a half-sister to champion Tie The Knot.

Payne hasn’t had a runner in the Caulfield Guineas as a trainer but as a jockey he has mixed memories of the race as he won it in 2000 on Skalato, who was later disqualified after returning a positive swab.

Sydney’s three-year-olds dominate early Guineas markets with Golden Rose winner Ole Kirk heading TAB fixed odds betting at $4.50, ahead of King’s Legacy and Mo’unga at $6.

Glenfiddich is a $7 chance with Cherry Tortoni at $21.

Author: AAP

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