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Back from holiday – back into the winner’s circle?

By Duane Ranger

With Japan, China, and Singapore behind them it’s business time for Charlie Cini and his wife Cristina Monte at Redcliffe Paceway on Saturday night.

The Jacobs Well couple took their annual leave shortly after their team raced at Albion Park on August 17, and are back ready to win.

They have four nominated for the meeting at Redcliffe, which has been relocated from Albion Park, due to that track undergoing a refurbishment.

“Saloon Passage, Tulhurst Ace, and Secret Jack, all raced at Albion Park last week, and needed those first runs back. Im Major Harry will be having his third start for us this time in after racing for his owner Peter Hedges down in Newcastle. He has raced the last two Saturday night meetings at Albion Park,” Cini said.

“If he goes all right he will stay here, if not he will head back south,” he added.

Cini and Monte have understandably not trained a winner this season, but finished fifth on the Queensland metropolitan premiership last year.

“We were happy with that considering we only had 10 horses in work. At this stage we are training eight,” said Cini.

He said he had been training standardbreds since he left Patrician Brothers College in Blacktown.

“Me and my younger brother, Stephen are New South Wales boys and have trained horses for as long as we can remember. It’s in our blood and we still enjoy it.”

He said $3 favourite, Saloon Passage, was probably his best winning chance on Saturday because that son of Elsu had good gate speed and looked the likely leader.

“It all comes down to the draws in Queensland. If you aren’t on the pace or near it, it is very hard trying to round them up. In saying that Tulhurst Ace is a nice racehorse, and he’s an old favourite.”

Three of four of the Cini and Monte team have drawn three tomorrow, and regular pilot, Adam Richardson, is driving three of the quartet.

Here’s what Cini had to say about his four runners (with horse, draw, form, driver, and opening odds):

Race 2: IM MAJOR HARRY (3) 23690 - Adam Richardson - $3.50 favourite. “Major In Art 6-year-old, who gets a good draw and a good chance to win. He’s had some bad draws lately and gets his chance here. He’s a nice big clean-gaited pacer, who has raced well on smaller tracks back home like Maitland, Tamworth and Bathurst. He’s been around a bit. Each-way.”

Race 4: SALOON PASSAGE (3) 367-8 – Adam Richardson - $3 favourite. “He’s also got a nice draw and has run once at Redcliffe before. That was when he competed in the Redcliffe Cup from a 10 metre handicap. That day the horse in front of him galloped and he got a long way back. He’s quick off the gate and should lead, depending on what the two inside him do. I think this fella and Secret Jack are my best two winning chances. I like him over the other one in this race simply because he has a better draw and more gate speed. I’m hoping he leads all the way here.”

Race 4: TULHURST ACE (5) 318-6 – Grant Dixon – ($4 second favourite). “This fella will also go well ‘second-up’. He’s nice old horse, but has drawn wide on the small track. You have to be near the lead here and he might find it a bit tough trying to round them up. He’s fool-proof though, and we love him. We have had a lot of fun with this gelding. I think he’s won five or six for us. We would love more horses like him.”

Race 6: SECRET JACK (3) 119-7 - Adam Richardson - ($6 fifth favourite). “Another respected gelding, who has won eight or so races for us. He’s met his mark, but has the draw to be competitive here. He needed last week’s run and should be sharper for this. He will be going forward, but is up against a nice field - some of which have won 20-odd races.  He always gives his best and will be up near the front somewhere.”