Rookie apprentice chasing first provincial win

Trainer Olivia Cairns is hopeful of giving rookie apprentice Tyler Leslight his first provincial winner at Mackay on Tuesday.

Leslight is apprenticed to Moranbah trainer Bevan Johnson and has already ridden his first country winner from only 12 rides when successful aboard veteran galloper Fab's Cowboy at Gladstone last month.

Leslight, 22, is the first Australian jockey to publicly declare he is a transgender.

He was assigned female at birth but decided, at the age of 16, to medically transition and identify as a male.

Cairns wants to make full use of Leslight's four kilogram claim when he partners Fire King in the QTIS Three-Year-Old Handicap over 1200 metres and Springthorpe in the Benchmark 55 Handicap over 1300 metres.

Cairns also has booked top hoop Justin Stanley for Grey Zone in the Maiden Handicap over 1200 metres.

Fire King has been racing consistently with three placings from his past four starts, including a last start second to Bold Halo against his own age at Rockhampton on April 21.

"I'm using this race for better races down the track with Fire King and he gets in well with only 56kgs with Tyler's claim," Cairns said.

"His last run was very good when he took a while to get going then got held up.

"He had a big weight that day and was looking for further ground.

"We're trying to make the most of him in QTIS races before they finish this season but ultimately, I'm looking at The Dollar and Townsville Guineas with him during the carnival here."

Cairns also rates Sprinthorpe a chance of claiming the Benchmark 55 Handicap following his first-up sixth at Thangool on April 30.

"I would have liked a better draw than barrier 18 but he comes in four places if the emergencies don't get starts," she said.

"He felt the pinch a bit and knocked up last start but he's back in his own grade in this which will be a big help."

Cairns likes Grey Zone as a strong hope of breaking through for her first win at her fourth appearance.

The daughter The Factor was originally trained by Les Kelly on the Gold Coast and had her first start for Cairns finishing fifth, beaten less than two lengths, in an 1100 metre maiden at Mackay on April 28.

"It was a blanket finish that day and she should have run second," Cairns said.


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