Connie Greig’s ‘old girl’ chasing fairy tale finish in picnic final

Connie Greig and Leandro Ribeiro will team up with Malibu Stacy in the NSWPRA Picnic Champion Series final at Coonamble on Sunday. Photo: Racing Photography.

Connie Greig will take three chances to Coonamble on Sunday as she attempts to win the 2021 NSWPRA Picnic Champion Series

Malibu Stacy, Equilibrium and Regina Margherita will represent the Dubbo stable in the 1400m event that showcases the best of NSW picnic racing, with Greig explaining that Call Me Trinity would not go to the final after qualifying. 

“Call Me Trinity isn’t going because she doesn’t handle the distance,” Greig said. 

“The other three will go and we will see how we go.”

Malibu Stacy looks the stable’s best chance on paper, with the 10-year-old winning the Tullibigeal Cup over 1600m in March and the Bourke Cup, again over the 1600m, in April. 

Following a severe bout of colic that derailed a promising preparation, the 108-start veteran returned to the track last month, running sixth at Dubbo over the 1300m, beaten 2.96 lengths, before finishing seventh at Gunnedah, again over 1300m, beaten only 2.25 lengths.

Greig said the 1400m distance wasn’t ideal, but she believed Malibu Stacy was primed third-up to run a good race.

“She ran in two cups and won both of them, but they were both over a mile and this race is only over 1400m,” Greig said. 

“She was supposed to go to Tomingley, but got Colic, and I mean bad Colic; she was out for a while.

“She has come back alright. The Gunnedah run was just timing. I had to pick a race that would suit this preparation and that’s why we went there and now she is ready for the final.

“The fact she is in the final is an achievement. We didn’t know if she would come back.”

Leandro Ribeiro, who has a strong affinity with the Greig stable, takes the ride and connections expect the Haradasun mare to be storming home in the Coonamble final.

“We just want a fast pace. She will be out the back and running on,” Greig said. 

Malibu Stacy will likely finish up her career at the end of this preparation, and after registering 12 victories and earning nearly $200,000 in prizemoney, Greig believed a good win before her retirement would be fitting.

“Stacy is the only horse I have left from when I moved here from Hawkesbury. I’ve been here five years and she is still going,” Greig said. 

“She is an old country horse that has only won country and picnic races. She is rated low, and she suits picnic racing. 

“She is a good old girl that runs on and you can back her up and she is just the ideal country and picnic horse. It would be good to win a race like this as this will be her last prep.”

While Malibu Stacy headlines the stable’s charge, Greig’s other runners weren’t without their chances either.

Michael Wade is set to jump aboard Equilibrium and the eight-year-old is a consistent type, but he will head into the final boasting the bizarre statistic of having never won a picnic race.

Despite registering a non-TAB win at Brewarrina and a TAB 2 win at Quirindi this preparation, Equilibrium could only manage picnic placings at Quambone, Moree, Mudgee, Coonamble and Gunneda, earning enough points in the process to make the final.

“Win, lose or draw, Equilibrium will go for a spell after the race,” Greig said. 

“He has been up for a lifetime and only qualified by default. He had to win or come second at Gunnedah to get in and like usual, he ran second and snuck in.”

Greig’s final runner is Regina Margherita, with the seven-year-old getting into the final after winning the Tottenham Picnic Cup, while finishing second at Bedgerabong and Wellington and third at Mudgee. 

“She qualified and she was going well but she had a setback prior to getting ready for the final,” Greig said.

“She had a cough and we couldn’t shake but did, but she has now and probably needed that run at Wellington and that showed.”

Nicholas Perrett takes the ride and Greig was pleased to see the travelling hoop make the journey to Wellington late last month to get a feel for the Dr Doute’s mare before the final.

“He wanted to come to Wellington and ride her. She travelled a bit too fresh and knocked up but we kind of expected that,” Greig said.

“She will be a lot better for the run.”

While the Dubbo trainer openly admitted Malibu Stacy was her best chance of lifting the trophy, she wasn’t worried about any one horse, suggesting a handful or so could win the $50,000 race.

“I don’t think there is any clear winner like previous years,” Greig said.

“I’m not worried about any one particular horse. They have all beaten each other at one cup or another, whether it is 1300m or a mile, they have beaten each other, and I think the way the race is run will determine who wins.”

The final field for the NSWPRA $50,0000 Picnic Champion Series final will be released on Thursday and racing fans can click here to see who is nominated. 

For more information on the Picnic Champion Series, readers can click here.