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The upcoming 2017 Brisbane harness racing winter carnival may have suffered its first major casualty. Richly talented pacer Catcha Lefty has been struck down by a virus and has been sent to the spelling paddock for some down time meaning the four-year-old will miss the features. A winner of the Queensland Derby last season, Catcha Lefty has recently returned from a frustrating Sydney campaign which netted only one victory from four starts for husband and wife team of Charlie Cini and Cristina Monte. A spate of bad draws and no luck meant the Village Jasper gelding missed a birth in the Gr.1 $200,000 Chariots of Fire which was ultimately won by New Zealand star Lazarus. “Sydney was a wipeout for him because nothing really went to plan; it was disappointing to miss a spot in the Chariots because that was the whole reason for the trip south. He was just about ready to start again up here before becoming ill which forced our hand to give him a good break.” Cini said. Catcha Lefty loomed as a serious challenger for the Gr.3 $30,000 4yo Championship on July 1, the opening night of the Albion Park winter carnival while connections were considering the open class features. The Gr.2 $50,000 Sunshine Sprint (July 8) followed by the Gr.1 $200,000 Blacks A Fake (July 15) were possibilities depending on form. “It’s disappointing that we will miss those type pf races but the horse comes first, we believe he’s a potential open class horse of the future so we won’t take any risks with him. We’ll give him as long as needs before returning to work. “He’s won 15 from 32 and proven he can match it with the best so we’re mindful of his future and this break might prove to be a blessing. We’ve always said he’s the best horse that Chrissie and I have had and we’ll look after him because I’m sure he’ll repay us in the future. “He was probably only a week off starting before we picked up on the virus, he’s been treated and some time on the green grass is the best medicine for him.” Catcha Lefty last raced on February 11 at Menangle when finishing at the rear after a tough run in a time of 1:50.3. Chris Barsby

Catcha Lefty is going to take his shot. The Queensland Derby winner will head south this week (Wednesday) in preparation for the harness racing Gr.1 $200,000 Chariots of Fire at TABCORP Park, Menangle scheduled for February 11. The two qualifying races, the Gr.2 $50,000 Hondo Grattan and Paleface Adios Sprints are slated for January 21 and 28, both to be staged at Menangle. Husband and wife combination of Charlie Cini and Cristina Monte are willing to contest both lead-up events if required but are hopeful of securing a start in the four-year-old feature. “This is what we’re in the business for, to get a nice and contest the bigger events so we’re going to give him his opportunity. Obviously this crop is outstanding headed by the New Zealand horses but we’re hopeful of gaining an invitation for the big race.” Co-trainer Cini said. Since returning from his biggest triumph during the Brisbane winter carnival, Catcha Lefty has shaped nicely in two runs back from the break and heads south in peak condition. The Village Jasper gelding was beaten but far from disgraced first-up on December 17 when speedy mare Cherish The Moment led throughout at Albion Park in a time of 1:53.1. Catcha Lefty sat without cover on that occasion and went down by a shot half head margin. In his latest effort on January 3, Catcha Lefty scored a clinical victory at Albion Park in a time of 1:55.8. “He’s in great shape; the first-up run was excellent and Shane (Graham – driver) was absolutely thrilled while his latest effort was very good and they were running into a strong head wind that day. It was a perfect run given his tough first-up effort and he’s trained on since. “We have no doubt he goes best with a sit, coming off cover and unfortunately we don’t get many opportunities to drive him that manner up here but we will when he races in Sydney. He came off cover when he won the Queensland Derby last season. “His first start will come in the Hondo Grattan and then we’ll reassess after that, the news that Lazarus is heading to Melbourne now rather than contesting this event is a bonus. He’s come back in great shape, he grew a touch taller and definitely filled out a little more, I think he’s set for a good campaign.” Regular reinsman Shane Graham is currently suspended after incurring a two week driving suspension at Redcliffe last week but will be back to drive him on Saturday week. Catcha Lefty has won 14 of his 28 starts to date while banking more than $177,000. Also joining Catcha Lefty on the trip south are talented stablemates Bring On Lefty and Firebby while Cold Ideal, Stonebridge Royal, Armbro Teehee and Marshal Dale are also on board. The Cini/Monte team will be based with Daryl New on course at Menangle during their campaign. by Chris Barsby

The record is perfect. 100% spot-on. Perhaps it was divine intervention or just the harness racing gods smiling down upon Lucky Lefty last night (Wednesday) when he registered his maiden success in the QBRED Means Queensland Pace at Redcliffe but it was much more than just another victory. Well, it certainly was for Christina Monte and her husband Charlie Cini. Over the past decade, the popular couple has been dining off the deeds of their former classy racemare turned broodmare gem, Lefty. The Fake Left mare scored on 17 occasions from 67 career starts while amassing more than $117,000 in stakes but her true value at stud is immeasurable. From 11 foals, Lefty produced 11 winners. Her winners to date include Chucka Lefty (9 wins - $51k), Shes A Lefty (10 wins - $102k), Lotsa Lefty (4 wins - $17k), Another Lefty (7 wins - $24k), Major Lefty (17 wins - $88k), Just A Lefty (9 wins - $29k), Royal Lefty (2 wins - $6k), Feelin Good Lefty ( 2 wins - $11k), Bring On Lefty (4 wins - $25k) and Catcha Lefty (12 wins - $123k). Nine different stallions have covered Lefty including Perfect Art (twice), Lotsa Clout, Safely Kept, Art Major, Jet Laag, Blissfull Hall, Mr Feelgood (twice), P B Bullville and Village Jasper. The last foal for Lefty before being retired is Lucky Lefty, a Mr Feelgood colt who scored at start number seven. Unfortunately, Lefty is no longer with us. But her deeds can live on through Catcha Lefty, the richly talented three-year-old gelding is chasing Derby glory over the next week starting with the Listed $25,000 Garrards Gold Coast Derby at Albion Park on Saturday night. Despite a tricky second-line draw, Catcha Lefty still rates as a chance following his eye-catching effort last week in the Premiers Cup behind Smiling Armada after losing considerable early ground after a tardy start. “We’re really happy with the way he’s going at the moment, last week obviously didn’t go to plan but his run was very good given how much ground he made up and the sectionals back that up.” Cini said. “We’ll need luck from the draw but if we get any luck, he won’t be far away and hopefully they go hard throughout and that will suit our guy nicely. I know Shane Graham ( driver) is happy so that makes us happy.” He added. Let’s hope the celebrations continue. Chris Barsby

Classy Queensland youngster Catcha Lefty is ready to go again. But he just needs to secure a start in a trial before connections look at a race return in the coming weeks to kick start his three-year-old harness racing season. Sounds easy, right? The Cristina Monte and Charlie Cini trained Village Jasper – Lefty gelding was balloted from a trial this week leaving connections a little bemused. Catcha Lefty hasn’t started since competing in the Gr.1 $288,000 Australasian Breeders Crown Final at Melton on August 30 when 7th behind the unbeaten and freakishly talented Our Waikiki Beach. “The reason we want to trail him is because we’ve made an adjustment to his gear and just want to make sure everything is right with it. We’re planning on racing him this season without a headcheck and just want to see how he is behind the mobile without it, he works at home without it and its fine but the mobile on race day is a little different.” Cini said. The precocious talent secured 7 victories from 11 starts last season and clearly stamped himself as one of the shining talents in the sunshine state and another big season beckons. Obvious targets will include the QBRED features while many other features are also under strong consideration, another interstate trip will depend on how his form reads at the time. “He’s ready to go but we want that trial, we nominated for yesterday (Tuesday) but got left out because of a number of reasons. They told me preference was being given to those who need to re-qualify and then they said stable allocation was at a premium, it’s a little frustrating when you have a horse like this standing at home with nowhere to go. “We’re really happy with the way he’s come up at this stage of his preparation but a trial without the headcheck will certainly tell us a lot more. He had a good break after arriving home from Melbourne and he put on plenty of weight, probably a little too much because he loves his tucker but he has trimmed down nicely now. “The QBRED features are the main targets and hopefully the winter carnival will offer something for us but that’s a long way down the track at this stage. The talent pool is very strong so it won’t be easy this season but you have to be in it to win it.” The biggest success last season for Catcha Lefty came via the Gr.2 $50,000 QBRED Breeders Classic Final at Albion Park back in June. by Chris Barsby

Queensland harness racing rookie pacers Catcha Lefty and Get In The Groove have been confirmed by their respective connections as targeting the upcoming Australasian Breeders Crown in Melbourne. Both pacers are already feature race winners, in fact, both scored in their respective Gr.2 $50,000 QBRED Breeders Classic Finals at Albion Park back on June 20. And both have already qualified for the semi-finals at Ballarat on August 22 following their respective victories in qualifying heats at Albion Park on July 10. Both pacers will head south together. And stable together, with Clinton Welsh. Catcha Lefty is prepared by husband and wife combination of Charlie Cini and Cristina Monte while Get In The Groove is prepared by husband and wife combination of Grant and Trista Dixon. The Dixon’s are no strangers to tackling the Breeders Crown after winning the two-year-old fillies consolation last year with Feel The Faith plus running third in the three-year-old final with Alleluia. But it’s entirely new for Cini and Monte. The Village Jasper – Lefty gelding is yet to miss the board in 9 starts this season which includes 7 victories. “We’re keen to get down there and give it a real shot; he’s the only horse we’ve ever paid up with this series and we’ll take our opportunity." "He’s a nice horse and he’s qualified, we’re due to fly out on the 17th and I’m hoping we can secure a race start with him next week which will keep him ticking over just nicely.” Cini said. Both horses haven’t raced since July 18 at Albion Park in the Gr.1 $100,000 QBRED Triad Finals. Catcha Lefty finished a close-up third behind Leos Best and Roarn in 1;54.8 after working hard throughout while Get In The Groove crashed to the track after being wiped out by Victorian filly Heavens Trend at the 300m marker. Get In The Groove bounced back with a stylish trial victory at Albion Park last night (Tuesday) coming off the speed to win the workout in a mile rate of 1;58.6 with a final split of 27.6 seconds. The Mach Three – Get Happy filly is raced by her breeders Kevin and Kay Seymour. “We’re keen to give her an opportunity against the best fillies available, we think she has good ability and we’re prepared to head south and Grant is confident she has taken no harm from that nasty incident at Albion Park in the Triad Final, it was a good trial.” Seymour said. Get In The Groove has won 3 of her 5 starts to date. A Queensland trained runner is yet to win a 2yo Breeders Crown Final but have tasted success in the 3yo division through the deeds of Fleur De Lil and Tip Your Hat. Chris Barsby

It’s a family tree that runs deep. Very deep. And exciting harness racing rookie Catcha Lefty is quickly proving himself to be the best of the progeny of Fake Left mare Lefty for the Cini / Monte families. Husband and wife team of Charlie Cini and Cristina Monte prepare Catcha Lefty, a pacer they bred, raised and reared before taking him all the way through to the precocious talent that he is today. Catcha Lefty is the ruling favourite for Saturday night’s Gr.2 $50,000 QBRED Breeders Classic 2yo Colts & Geldings Final at Albion Park after winning five of his six starts to date. “He’s a classy horse with a great attitude, he’s been great to deal with from the very start and he’s kept improving all the way through. We think a lot of him and hopefully he keeps improving.” Cini said. The Village Jasper gelding hails from great lineage, his mother Lefty has proven to be quite the broodmare leaving ten individual winners from ten foals to race to date. Lefty was no slouch herself and amassed a fine record of 17 victories and 26 minor placings from 67 lifetime starts but her value as a broodmare has proven to be immeasurable. Her winners to date include Chucka Lefty (9 wins - $51k), Shes A Lefty (10 wins - $102k), Lotsa Lefty (4 wins - $17k), Another Lefty (7 wins - $24k), Major Lefty (17 wins - $88k), Just A Lefty (9 wins - $29k), Royal Lefty (2 wins - $6k), Feelin Good Lefty ( 2 wins - $11k), Bring On Lefty (1 win - $2k) and now Catcha Lefty. The last foal for Lefty is Mr Feelgood colt. “We retired her after the Mr Feelgood colt and she’s now enjoying retirement at home with us, she’s been an absolute star at stud and we’re very lucky to have a mare like her. It didn’t matter what stallion covered her, she just kept throwing winner after winner. “I think Catcha Lefty is the best of her progeny but she’s had some good ones including Shes A Lefty, Another Lefty was a trotter by Safely Kept and he could trot on his day, it just underlines her worth. “Catcha Lefty has speed, real speed and that separates him from his brothers and sisters. From the time we broken him in, he was a natural and his attitude is great, he’s a very intelligent horse. He’s the only youngster that we staked for the Breeders Crown so that just proves what we think of him.” Catcha Lefty has drawn nicely in gate four on Saturday night. Connections will target the Gr.1 $100,000 QBRED Triad Final on July 18 at Albion Park while a Breeders Crown campaign will also be strongly considered. by Chris Barsby Related Links Fields for Albion Park, Saturday 20 June 2015 Form guide for Albion Park, Saturday 20 June 2015

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