The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Patrick Payne’s very promising Night Of Thunder two-year-old Cherry Tortoni is out to continue the unbeaten start to his career when he lines-up as the punters’ pick in the Taj Rossi Series Final 2020 at Flemington on Saturday.
One of the early features on the Finals Day card at HQ this weekend, the Listed $120,000 Kennedy Taj Rossi Series Final (1600m) is down to a dozen runners after the early withdrawal of Maui (6).
Heading the field, weights and betting markets for the two-years-old handicap clash is Cherry Tortoni with a task ahead carrying a hefty 61kg for his third career start.
Jockey Billy Egan continues associations with the up-and-comer having ridden the young horse – who dons the iconic red and white colours of Tie The Knot – to victory on debut at Sale on May 27 and again over 1420m in a heat for Saturday’s final over 1420m on June 20.
Cherry Tortoni was ultra-impressive last start with 60.5kg on his back winning by one and a half lengths, a feat he is at a current quote of $2.60 in the Taj Rossi Series Final odds at Ladbrokes.com.au to emulate chasing a Black-Type win on Saturday.
Three other runners are also at single-figures in Taj Rossi Series Final betting this winter including the Tony & Calvin McEvoy-trained filly Toyz On Fire ($7).
Damien Oliver comes aboard the daughter of Fighting Sun this weekend with Toyz On Fire looking to improve on her lead-up third at Swan Hill over 1300m on June 17.
Prior to that she won on debut at Wangaratta and co-trainer Calvin McEvoy is confident she presents as a danger up in grade and distance on Saturday.
“She was a bit slow to learn her craft as a younger filly in South Australia and we got her to a trial in November, albeit educational, but she was still working it out and she never really dazzled us,” he told AAP.
“But this preparation she has really gone to the next level over in Melbourne. Getting her over there just made her grow up a bit and mature.”
McEvoy named the favourite as the obvious one to beat this weekend, but said the team were happy with their filly.
“Obviously there’s a lot of unknowns and she’s stepping up in grade so you can never be overly confident going up against an unbeaten horse like Cherry Tortoni who has just been very, very impressive,” he said.
“But we wouldn’t be running her if we didn’t think that she was a good chance.
“If she were to be able to get a little bit of black-type on her page it would make her worth a lot of money.”
The other best fancied in the markets are then the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Narvaez ($7.50) drawn well in barrier four and early mover Alcyone ($8) for Godolphin.
Nicely-bred Vancouver colt Narvaez comes off a win at Bendigo over the mile where he carried 60kg to break his maiden status at start number five.
With the win under his belt, he looks a winning hope again over the same distance coming back to 58kg.
Alcyone is another potentially valuable colt in the making, the James Cummings-trained son of Teofilo runner-up at Ballarat two back before the somewhat disappointing 10th to Cherry Tortoni last time out.
He drops in weight for the rematch on Saturday from 59.5kg to 56.5kg, but has another wide draw to overcome.
2020 Taj Rossi Series Final Field & Barriers
|Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott
|MYSTIQUE FALCON (NZ)
|Ciaron Maher & David Eustace
|JOHNNY GET ANGRY (NZ)
|Lachlan King (a)
|TOYZ ON FIRE
|Tony & Calvin McEvoy
|Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)
|Lewis German (a)
*Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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