Ryan Maloney has picked up the prized mount on Cherry Tortoni in the Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick

Ryan Maloney’s scheduled Sydney trip to partner pin-up horse Alligator Blood on Saturday could bring an unexpected windfall after picking up the ride on Cherry Tortoni in the $1 million Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes.

Alligator Blood runs in the $500,000 Silver Eagle, for which Ladbrokes has marked him a dominant $2.25 favourite.

But a relationship with Victorian trainer Patrick Payne dating back to his early days as a jockey brought about the booking for Cherry Tortoni, who is a $6.50 chance in the Spring Champion.

“They had to decide whether he would run in the Caulfield Guineas or come to Sydney,” Maloney said of Cherry Tortoni. “I was on standby for him (at Randwick) and knocked back two other rides in the race. Luckily it fell our way.

Cherry Tortoni has headed north to contest the Spring Champion Stakes at Royal Randwick. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“I rode a bit for (Payne) after I became a senior jockey.

“As a young rider, I used to drive him and Brett Prebble mad. Just asking them things about riding, trying to pick up little things.

“It would be nice to think it could go full circle on Saturday and win a Group 1 for him.”

Cherry Tortoni races in the Tait family colours most famously adorned by Tie The Knot, who won the Spring Champion Stakes in 1997. His Mum was a half-sister to Tie The Knot.

Maloney has taken a month out of his Queensland schedule to try to win the $7.5m Golden Eagle on Alligator Blood.

Maloney has ridden Alligator Blood in a jumpout since his first-up third over 1110m at Doomben last month and says he will be much better suited over 1300m on Saturday.

“He sprinted up nicely like I know he can,” he said. “He’s still not 100 per cent in the coat, but I think he’s definitely come on since his fresh run.

Alligator Blood has drawn well in the Silver Eagle at Royal Randwick on Saturday. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“He’s drawn nice enough in five. We have speed outside and inside us, but nothing there with the speed of The Odyssey, so he won’t be run off his feet this time and it should pan out nicely for us.

“He’s going to relish the longer trip on a bigger track.”

Maloney is driving to Sydney on Thursday and hopes to pick up other rides as he waits for the Golden Eagle on October 31.

“I’ve picked up another ride on Saturday for Bjorn Baker and hopefully I can build a few relationships while I’m down there and keep busy so I don’t put on the kilos,” he said.

“Hopefully it makes it a worthwhile working holiday.”

Originally published asCherry ripe: Maloney eyes rich Spring bonus

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