Cherry Tortoni at Bendigo 2022

Cherry Tortoni claims the Golden Mile

The Patrick Payne-trained Cherry Tortoni was at his very best on Saturday when he took out the $200,000 Listed bet365 Golden Mile at Bendigo.

Saturday’s victory delivered the four-year-old gelding his fourth stakes win, adding to his record which now stands at six wins, three seconds and two thirds from 19 starts.

Michael Dee, who has now won this race three times, took Cherry Tortoni four-wide into the straight before pushing the button at the 300m mark and kicking away from placegetters Hi Stranger and Milford.

“He was massive, he’s been absolutely flying this whole prep and building very nicely for coming here today. The only concern for myself was the barrier draw but I had full faith in Patrick and his team and the way Cherry is going at the moment,” Dee said.

Cherry Tortoni, who is by Night Of Thunder and out of Tortoni, has now amassed over $900,000 in prizemoney in his career to date.

Patrick Payne, who also tasted success in this race in 2019 with Hellova Street, said he will take his time deciding what the future holds for the gelding.

“I was thinking there might be a race for him in Adelaide, but we’ll just wait and see. As I said, he’s only a young horse and we don’t need to rush him,” Payne said.

“It was a strong field, it was no pinch, he had to be at his best but he was much better with blinkers on and he got the right run.”

Another marquee race on the card was the $250,000 VOBIS Gold Rush (1000m), run exclusively for two-year-old VOBIS qualified horses.

The Henry Dwyer-trained Hollerlujah, who was purchased for $46,000 at the 2021 Inglis Melbourne Gold Yearling Sale, proved too strong on the day storming home to win on debut with Mitch Aitken aboard.

"We’ve always liked her as a filly and she’s just done everything right the whole way through. She’s never been a real standout but she’s just so tradesman like,” Dwyer said.

"We didn’t pay a lot for her… but she’s just been ultra-professional all the way through.”

Dwyer said he will likely look to the $1 million The Showdown on Victorian Owners and Breeders Raceday at Caulfield (Saturday 23 April) as an upcoming target for Hollerlujah.

“There’s a fair bit of upside, so you’d have to go to a race like that (The Showdown) now.”

In other highlights from the day, Foxy Frida and Sirileo Miss tied in a dead head for first place in the $130,000 Catanach’s Jewellers Bendigo Gold Bracelet, while Harry Coffey delivered an emotional winner aboard Colsridge for veteran Bendigo trainer Arthur Pace in Race 4.