Connie Greig knows how to get a horse into the Picnic Champion Series final, having won the series for the first time in 2022 with Hemsted.
With the 2022/23 season of picnic racing well under way following recent meetings at Bedgerabong, Condobolin (at Bathurst), and Yass, Greig has the series leaders, with Cheeky Nugget and Get Up Alby both sitting on top with 11 points.
Get Up Alby is a perennial picnic pony and qualified for the 2022 Picnic Champion Series final but was scratched, and Greig said it was her plan to qualify him amongst others for the 2023 final, which will be run and won at Coonamble on October 22.
“He has been in it every year, and he got scratched last year but he is the type of horse that should be in the picnic final,” Greig said.
“He doesn’t win a lot, but he races at the picnics, and he’ll be there again later in the year.”
The eight-year-old is a veteran of 75 starts for five wins and 21 placings, and with Breanna Bourke in the saddle, he will take on Saturday’s Tottenham Picnic Cup.
Greig didn’t beat around the bush though, insisting he can be a difficult horse at the best of times, but she wasn’t ready to write him off on Saturday.
“He’s bad to ride, bad on the ground, but we bred him, we own him, and he will race out his days here, and retire on the property because he is one of those you can’t give away,” Greig said.
“His not as fast as his mum, who was a bit the same and she was buried on the property where he will be buried one day, but he’s found his niche at the picnics, and he is bringing in some prizemoney.
“The thing is, If Alby turns up, he can run a good run. He won like he was cantering past them at Bedgerabong last start, and he has beaten Brooklyn Star in a sprint race, and that shouldn’t happen, but he can definitely do it on his day and I wouldn’t be surprised if he won it.”
Greig has two chances in the Tottenham Picnic Cup, with Leandro Ribeiro to ride Inzaghi in the 1400m feature event.
The six-year-old has started 41 times for three wins and 11 placings, and the Dubbo trainer believes she is capable on her day.
“She is much the same as Alby,” Greig said.
“She is stuck between whether she turns up or doesn’t, but this is where she should be racing, and she is another genuine picnic horse.
“She is no superstar but if she tries, she will be thereabouts.”
Greig will send six around at Tottenham, with Yorker (Ribeiro) taking on the 800m Class Three Trophy Handicap, Everyone (Bourke) and Billy Bent Ear (Ribeiro) contesting the 1000m Open Trophy Handicap, while Pahang (Ribeiro) is in the 1200m Class Two Trophy Handicap.
“Yorker and Billy Bent Ear are probably my best chances,” Greig said.
“Billy always tries, and Yorker is probably in need of another run but the 800m should suit.”
Tottenham is a unique course, and Greig said it was a matter of being on pace in the small fields.
“They more or less have to be on speed. It is only a small straight and it’s a funny shaped track and you don’t want to be too far off them,” Greig said.
For fields click here.
Huge day for Tottenham
Excitement is building ahead of Saturday’s six-race picnic program, and for good reason too, as Tottenham is just one of those bucket list meetings that all die-hard racegoers need to pencil in at least once.
Located 140km drive west of Dubbo, the track is central to many bush trainers, and with a population of around 300, that number generally swells into the thousands as travellers from all over the country congregate for the popular once-a-year meeting.
There is fashions on the fields, full bar services, and a BBQ and afternoon tea, along with a free luncheon between 12pm and 1.30pm.
There is kid’s entertainment during the day, live music from Duncan Ferguson, and camping available, meaning the party goes well into the night.
For more on the race day, readers can click here.