Nyngan treble for Leandro Ribeiro

Leandro Ribeiro and the Connie Greig-trained Individualist, pictured here winning at Cobar, combined to win at Nyngan on Sunday. Photo: Racing Photography.

There is no denying that Leandro Ribeiro is NSW’s best picnic jockey at the minute. 

His first ride in Australia was on the Rodney Robb-trained Mendonsa Kiss at Nyngan back on July 4, 2020, and the pair combined to win comfortably in that Maiden Plate.

Since then, the 38-year-old has developed a successful relationship with Dubbo trainer Connie Greig, while other trainers often vie for his services when he is available.

It’s no surprise he is a popular commodity either, as he has ridden another 60 winners during two Covid-19 and rain-impacted seasons, winning the 2021/22 picnic jockey’s title, while going around at a sensational 30% winning strike rate. 

Ribeiro was back where it all began on Sunday, with Nyngan hosting a pop-up picnic meeting, and he was at his absolute best when riding his second treble for the season. 

In fact, Ribeiro made it a hat-trick of winners, winning the third, fourth and fifth races on the program. 

He started out his day combining with Greig on Individualist ($3.20) in the 1100m Class One Trophy Handicap, and the pair held on by 0.36 of a length from the Rodney Robb-trained Bella (Michael Gray, $5), while in third and 3.74 lengths off the pace was the Cindy Monaghan-trained Magic Smile (William Stanley, $2.80).

Ribeiro then teamed up with Gilgandra trainer Bryan Dixon when riding Jackal ($2) to victory in the 1200m Class B Handicap, winning by a staggering 9.25 lengths when beating the Allan Prisk-trained Rebel Lilly (Ricky Blewitt, $8) in second and the Bill Hayes-trained Run Callan Run (William Stanley, $3.50) in third.

The Brazilian’s hat-trick came to be in the 1400m Open Trophy Handicap when guiding the Greig-trained Hemsted to a dominant.

Hemsted ($2.80) – a recent acquisition by the Dubbo stable – won by almost 7 lengths from stablemate Equilibrium (John Wilson, $6), while in third and 9.11 lengths off the pace was the Rodney Robb-trained Hammoon Sweetheart (Emily Waters, $2.20). 

While Ribeiro and Greig both enjoyed good days at Nyngan on Sunday, overall, it was a good day of racing, with the club doing well to host the meeting following a slew of abandoned picnic programs at Geurie, Come-By -Chance, Lockhart, and Mungery. 

Tumbarumba jockey Emily Waters returned from injury in the first race and landed a good winner for Dubbo trainer Clint Lundholm, guiding In The Road ($2.40) to victory in the 900m Class B Handicap, beating the Bill Hayes-trained Rubicon River (William Stanley, $3) and Bryan Dixon-trained Just Too Sweet (Leandro Ribeiro, $2.60).

Greg O’Neill trained a quinella in the 1100m Maiden Plate, combining with champion picnic hoop Ricky Blewitt with Outback Cod ($6) winning from stablemate Mr Penfold (Michael Gray, $4), while in third was the Karen Lunn-trained Golden Maid (John Wilson, $4).  

In the final race of the day, both Karen Lunn and William Stanley landed deserved winners after going close in earlier races, with Joint Factor ($3.50) winning from the Michael Lunn-trained Bavarian Watts (Leandro Ribeiro, $2.50) in second, while the Clint Lundholm-trained Galleries Supreme (Ricky Blewitt, $1.70) finished third. 

The next picnic meeting on the calendar is Young (Burrangong) on Saturday, but with the track currently rated a heavy 10, and with more rain predicted in the region this week, readers are advised to keep tabs on the status of the meeting. 

The 2021/22 Picnic Champion Series final will then be held at Coonamble on October 11, and readers can keep up to date with NSW Country and Picnic Racing for nominations, acceptances and the final field for the $50,000 feature.