Cheeky Wellington win has Julia Presits back on track

Julia Presits landed a good win on the Connie Greig-trained and Leandro Ribeiro-owned Cheeky Nugget at Wellington on Monday. Photo: Racing Photography.

Julia Presits has put a nasty incident behind her, with the talented apprentice riding winners all over the state in recent weeks.  

The 29-year-old experienced a scary moment late last year, which led to an extended break from race riding.

On December 28, Presits was involved in a freak trackwork accident at Warwick Farm, where a Gary Portelli-trained two-year-old flipped on her, leading to various broken bones and a three-and-a-half month stint on the sideline. 

“I broke ten bones in total; my collarbone, shoulder blade, and a few from my spine, but they were small fractures,” Presits said.  

“My lung collapsed, but it wasn’t too bad, and I hurt for a week and was pretty good again, but I had to wait for everything to heal until I was allowed to ride again.”

Presits has since resumed riding, and following her first day back at the office at Moruya on April 8, she has landed three wins, riding the Marc Chevalier-trained Black Alexandra to a good victory at Gosford on April 25 before winning on Media Chick for Sarah Murray-Leslie at Queanbeyan on Saturday. 

On Monday, Presits travelled to Wellington and won on a horse very close to her heart, with the Connie Greig-trained Cheeky Nugget ($5.50) proving a little too good in the 1600m Benchmark 58 Handicap. 

Owned by her partner and leading picnic jockey Leandro Ribeiro, the five-year-old did it well for connections, and Presits was understandably thrilled.

“He’s one of my favourites,” she said. 

“Him and Walkin (Walkin’Talkin’) are my two favs, and Nugget was my first provincial winner, and he doesn’t win very often, but it’s nice when he wins.

“He’s been with Leandro for four years since he was a yearling, so he’s part of the family.”

Presits, who is indentured to Portelli, rides a lot for Greig in the country, and she praised the Dubbo trainer for her excellent work.

“Connie is just a great horsewoman, and she mostly trains her own horses, but when Leo asked her to train Hemsted and Cheeky Nugget, she said yes,” Presits said. 

“She treats them like her own, and Michelle and her whole team are very good.”

It’s been a triumphant return to the saddle for Presits, and despite riding three winners, the talented hoop believes she will only get better with more time.  

“I should not have any problems, and I’m all healed now, but I’m still unfit,” Presits laughed. 

“I don’t feel like I am where I was before; I’m going to the gym and exercising, but it takes time to get back to where I was before, but hopefully soon I’ll get back there.”

Presits rise through the NSW jockey’s ranks is an inspiring story. 

Not long after arriving in Australia, the Swedish product was riding at the picnics, landing a double at Gosford when on debut in November of 2019.

She rode more picnic winners at Geurie, Yass, and Wagga before taking up her apprenticeship. 

Now she has 50 winners next to her name, including multiple Metropolitan and Provincial wins. 

“I really liked to ride at the picnics, and I love the picnic races, but they said I was too light and to have a go at the professionals,” Presits said. 

“I never planned to be an apprentice jockey, but there are more opportunities and more money, and it’s been really good.”

Of her winners to date, she’s enjoyed success on handy sprinter Walkin’Talkin’ for Portelli, with the Elite Thoroughbreds gelding winning back-to-back races in town late last year.

“He was my first and only city winner,” Presits said. 

“I’ve won two on him in the city, and he’s a great horse, and I’m glad that the owners and Gary let me ride him.”

Regarding what the future holds for Presits, she’s focused on outriding her claim, but she touched on where she’d like to end up. 

“I would love to train,” Presits said.

“That was the whole reason I started to ride at the races; to get that experience first.

“I’d like to train somewhere in the country with Leandro, but first, I want to try and ride a few more winners.” 

Presits will venture back to the Central Districts on Saturday, this time riding at Dubbo, with the meeting to be headlined by the $40,000 Queen of the West (1200m).  

For Wellington results, click here.

For Dubbo nominations, click here.