Ribeiro and Greig combine for Tulli treble

Leandro Ribeiro and Connie Greig are making a very formidable team on the NSW Picnic Racing Association circuit. The pair combined for three winners at Tullibigeal Picnic Races on Saturday. Photo. Racing Photography.

Tullibigeal Picnic Races were dominated by Dubbo trainer Connie Greig and Sydney-based hoop Leandro Ribeiro on Saturday, with the pair combining to win three races on the six-race-program, including the annual Tulli Cup. 

In the feature event on the day, the $8000 Dunk Insurance, Frampton Flat Feedlot and O’Connor’s Tullibigeal Picnic Cup over the 1600m, Ribeiro guided Malibu Stacy to an easy 2.21 lengths victory over Opera Tickets and the locally owned, Bravado Lass. 

Greig and Ribeiro also won the Peter Maher, Bryton Wool and Chamens IGA Class Two Trophy Handicap over the 1200m with Rosesay, who cantered in by 1.46 lengths ahead of Rheingau and Alpha Lane. 

The duo found their third winner in the last race of the day, when Bella walloped her rivals to win by 3.56 lengths in the Ron Tyack Memorial Class One Trophy Handicap over the 1600m. 

 “We had a great day, you can’t get much better than three winners and cup,” Ribeiro laughed. 

The Brazilian jockey, who has only been riding on the picnic circuit since July last year, has been in a rich run of form, riding double after double, but he explained this was his first time riding a treble.

“I have been riding a double at nearly every meeting, I have been close to getting three, but yesterday (Saturday), I had the chance to ride three for the first time, which was good,” Ribeiro said.

The jockey, who rides trackwork for Gary Portelli, has teamed up with Greig many times this season, and he thanked the in-form trainer for the opportunities on the picnic circuit. 

“I have been riding for Connie often, she has booked me early each time, and we are having great results.” Ribeiro said.

“She is very happy, and she said she would have some more rides at the picnics and in the cups, so I am hoping for a few more winners.”

When asked what winner his favourite was on Saturday, Ribeiro said he couldn’t split them apart.

“The three of them went really good. They all gave me good rides, and when it came to the last 400m, I knew I was going to win on all of them,” Ribeiro said.

“I rode them with confidence, but if I had to choose, of course winning the cup is good.” 

Ribeiro praised the Tullibigeal Picnic Race Club for providing a terrific surface that stood up to the six races despite a wetter than expected preparation. 

“The track was really good. It was well looked after – it was a bit soft, but the track handled everything perfectly,” Ribeiro said.  

“The jockeys were happy, and the racing was good.”

The form picnic hoop in NSW has now taken the lead on the NSW picnic jockey standings as well, currently sitting with 15 wins for the season, two ahead of defending champion, Maddy Wright.

“I feel great, it is a new challenge for me. After a long time not riding races at home, I’m starting to get to know everyone and the tracks, and riding winners makes me me feel really good,” Ribeiro said.

“I love to get in the car and travel and I’m very happy with that at the moment, and hopefully I can keep collecting more winners and more cups.”

In what was a great day of racing at Tullibigieal, Debbie Prest and Peter Kirby made a welcome return to the picnics when quinellaing the first event on the card, the 975m Class B Handicap. 

Will Stanley delivered Prest a victory aboard Rewarded Princess, while Bella Days came second for Kirby with Ricky Blewitt in the saddle – Miracle Knight finished third. 

Canberra trained, Doug Gorrel was rewarded for the making the trip, with Sestina winning the 975m Bracelet sprint.

Young hoop, Anaelle Gangotena, rode her fourth winner in 12 starts at the picnics, when helping Sestina to a win over Call Me Trinity and Thuwaany.

Another Canberra trainer was in the winner’s list in the 1200m Maiden Plate when Bycromac won for Maddy Wright, getting home by 2.42 lengths over Gold Gasselle and Alleluia.

Picnic Racing will move to Bourke next week, with their annual Easter Sunday meeting set to draw a lot of interest.