Taj Rossi Series Final 2020 Results: Cherry Tortoni Wins Ahead of the Spring

July 4, 2020

Taj Rossi Series Final 2020 Results: Cherry Tortoni Wins Ahead of the Spring

Connections will be starting to look ahead to a potential 2020 VRC Derby campaign for rising three-year-old Cherry Tortoni after the emerging youngster retained his unbeaten record with a win in Flemington’s Listed $120,000 Taj Rossi Series Final (1600m).

Patrick Payne (Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos) - Races.com.au

Former champion jockey Patrick Payne won the 2020 Taj Rossi Series Final on Saturday with the unbeaten Cherry Tortoni. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos.

Prepared by former multiple Group 1 winning jockey Patrick Payne, Night Of Thunder gelding Cherry Tortoni made it a perfect three-from-three start to his career ahead of bigger and better things as a three-year-old when he returns in the spring.

The juvenile won on debut at Sale before a lead-up victory at Flemington over 1420m to earn his place in the Taj Rossi Series Final field over the mile.

Jockey Billy Egan continued his successful association with the chestnut who wears the same famous red and white silks as former champion racehorse Tie The Knot.

Cherry Tortoni’s dam, Tortoni, was a half-sister to 13-time Group 1 winner Tie The Knot who won dual editions of the Sydney Cup over the two miles in 1998, 1999.

The breeding then suggests 2000m plus will be ideal for Cherry Tortoni who handled the 1600m well on Saturday thanks in part to a patient and perfectly timed ride by Egan.

Egan settled back in the field aboard the well-backed favourite as the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Narvaez led them around in the Taj Rossi Series Final.

Not wanting to use up too much energy early with his mount donning the big 61kg top weight, Egan allowed Cherry Tortoni to sit back and get into his rhythm.

Coming into the turn the eventual winner was travelling strongly at the back before quickening late and proving too strong for his rivals.

There was a gutsy challenge right on the line by the runner-up Alcyone for Godolphin, but Cherry Tortoni had the class to hold on in a thrilling finish.

Both horses could be aimed at the Group 1 $2 million VRC Derby (2500m) back at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival with the pedigree to suggest they would be well-suited to the staying test.

In third was Tavistock gelding Johnny Get Angry who debuted on June 20 when second last (13th) behind Cherry Tortoni under the training of Leon & Troy Corstens.

He had his first run for his new trainer Denis Pagan in the Taj Rossi Series Final, former AFL coaching legend Pagan thrilled to celebrate a Listed placing with his first ever runner.

“He was terrific,” Pagan said post-race.

“He just got held up there for a while, but when he got out, just terrific.

“It’s early days yet, but just exciting to have my first runner at Flemington.”

The VRC Derby takes place on Saturday October 31, 2020 with all-in markets to open shortly at Ladbrokes.com.au.

2020 Taj Rossi Series Final Results

Colour Finish No. Horse Trainer Jockey Margin Bar. Weight Penalty Starting Price
1 1 CHERRY TORTONI Patrick Payne Billy Egan 6 61kg $2.35F
2 6 ALCYONE James Cummings John Allen 0.1L 9 56.5kg $5.50
3 8 JOHNNY GET ANGRY (NZ) Denis Pagan Lachlan King (a) 1.85L 3 56.5kg $101
4 3 SUPER YULONGSuper Vobis Bonus Scheme Matt Laurie Ben Melham 3.1L 4 58kg $11
5 11 TOYZ ON FIRESuper Vobis Bonus Scheme Tony & Calvin McEvoy Damien Oliver 4.85L 7 56kg $7
6 5 MYSTIQUE FALCON (NZ) Ciaron Maher & David Eustace Jye McNeil 5.05L 8 57kg $14
7 2 NARVAEZSuper Vobis Bonus Scheme Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott Dwayne Dunn 5.15L 2 58kg $10
8 7 BURLEIGH BOYSuper Vobis Bonus Scheme Danny O’Brien Craig Williams 5.9L 5 56.5kg $13
9 12 INSAAF Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr) Michael Dee 6L 1 56kg $18
10 13 BILLIEO Mark Stephenson Lewis German (a) 18L 10 56kg $201
10 TRODAIRESuper Vobis Bonus Scheme Lloyd Kennewell Joe Bowditch 0
9 MAUI (NZ) Phillip Stokes Daniel Stackhouse 0
4 CONFRONTATIONAL Jason Warren Jamie Kah 0

*Table Credit: Racing Australia.

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