Patrick Payne’s talented three-year-old Cherry Tortoni looks to be a serious threat in this year’s Victoria Derby thanks to some clever race tactics from Billy Egan in Saturday’s Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m).
Egan proved the difference maker in the small field of seven, defying the earlier pattern of the day to race from dead last into first at the final turn.
Khoekhoe gave chase over the final furlong but was unable to match Cherry Tortoni’s stride as Egan shifted from a three-wide position onto the rails out of the bend.
The winning hoop said after the race that he simply allowed him to shift through the gears before doing his best work late.
“Once we got the side, I just gave him breathing room and let him build his momentum and swoop over the top of them” Egan told racing.com.
Cherry Tortoni looked a little green rounding the sharp corner at The Valley, but still showed enough ability to kick clear and win by a head.
“I know he’s won a couple races, every time he’s got there just off ability without actually knowing what he’s doing. I think he’s got a lot of learning to do, but you know, he’s obviously his natural ability is really nice,” Egan went on to say.
After setting the race alight with some blazing late sections, Ladbrokes bookmakers have reacted accordingly by firming Cherry Tortoni from $13 into $6.00 in their All-In Victoria Derby market.
Five horses have completed the Vase – Derby double, the last being Graeme Rogerson’s New Zealand raider Efficient back in 2006.
Johnny Get Angry was the other eye-catcher on Saturday running on for third after blowing the start.
Despite that performance, the son of Tavistock has drifted from $17 out to $26.
Ladbrokes’ complete 2020 Victoria Derby market can be viewed here.