Greig and Ribeiro stamp their dominance in NSW picnic racing arena

Leandro Ribeiro (red cap, yellow and purple silks), aboard the Connie Greig-trained Inzaghi, leads the NSW Picnic Champion Series field into the Coonamble straight.
Image – Racing Photography.

There’s no denying Connie Greig and Leandro Ribeiro’s dominance on the NSW picnic racing circuit since the pair teamed up in 2020. 

Brazilian-born Ribeiro has already booted home 116 winners since arriving in Australia; incredibly, 60 of those have arrived for the Dubbo trainer at a remarkable strike rate of 37%.

The Sydney-based Ribeiro claimed the 2021-22 and 2022-23 NSW amateur jockey premierships, and Greig also won the NSW picnic trainer premierships in those same seasons. 

In 2022, Hemsted delivered the pair their first NSW Picnic Champion Series victory, with Greig starting six horses in last year’s final at Dubbo before claiming victory in the $50,000 feature with the then seven-year-old. 

In 2023, Greig took her dominance to another level, qualifying nine for Sunday’s 1400m final at Coonamble before eventually starting eight of the eleven runners. 

In the end, some Ribeiro magic helped the pair to back-to-back Picnic Champion Series wins, with Inzaghi proving too classy in the $50,000 race. 

Racing in Greig’s famous yellow and purple silks, Ribeiro wore a red cap and went straight to the front on the seven-year-old. 

The Sizzling mare started the $4.40 equal favourite and wasn’t troubled in front, and she kicked away for the easiest of three-length wins from the Rodney Robb-trained Sons Of Bourke (Zara Lewis, $10) while just over three lengths back in third was the Rob Potter-trained Madison Point (Sebastian Galea, $4.40). 

“I was actually cursing the ride,” Greig laughed in a post-race interview. 

“He probably wasn’t supposed to lead, but there was no speed and putting him on, he did the job himself.”

Inzaghi has been a good campaigner for Greig and fellow owner and business partner Michelle Jones, winning the Cobar Picnic Cup late last year, the Tottenham Picnic Cup in March, and the Cobar Picnic Cup again in September before Sunday’s triumph at Coonamble. 

Greig said it was up to Ribeiro as to which horse he would ride, and despite speculation before the race, there’s simply no denying his pick at the end of the day. 

“Obviously, he had the choice of who he wanted to ride, and I think she swapped and changed a few times, but he came up with Inzaghi at the end,” Greig said. 

With the 2022/23 Picnic Champion Series final in the rear-view mirror, the 2023/24 season is already underway, with meetings held at Cobar on September 23, Mungery on October 1, and Young on October 7. 

Picnic racing heads to Harden on October 28 and Bong Bong on November 24 before a short recess over the December and January holiday period.

For more on the Picnic Champion Series, click here.