Horse Racing
Sydney apprentice chasing a maiden black-type win

Sydney apprentice chasing a maiden black-type win

Rosehill-based apprentice Lester Grace will head to Doomben on Saturday to chase the dream all aspiring jockeys aim for - to win a first stakes race.

Grace, 20, is apprenticed to Gerald Ryan but it's been his association with the Grant Marshall-trained Slots that has afforded the young rider a realistic chance of claiming a Listed race success.

Slots and Grace have formed a solid partnership since they first joined forces at Rosehill on October 31, recording a win over smart performers Ryker and High Esteem combined with two strong placings.

Grace said victory aboard Slots in Saturday's $100,000 Listed Just Now Quality (1350m) would be a major milestone in his career.

"She's definitely the best ride I've had going into a stakes race,” Grace said. "Winning a black-type race is what every rider dreams of.”

Slots has been one of the bigger improvers in the Sydney racing scene this year.

In August last year she went to the paddock after winning a benchmark 55 race at Taree then returned in March with a third placing in the Group III Wenona Girl Handicap at $201.


While her autumn campaign didn't yield a win, the daughter of Casino Prince also placed in a heat of the Provincial Championships series and the Listed Luskin Star Stakes during the Scone Cup carnival.

From five starts this preparation the now six-year-old has only finished out of the money only once.


"I think she'll enjoy the step up in trip and has no weight on her back from a good draw,” Grace said. "That should allow us to get a good spot and with the pace on, she'll be hitting the line.

"She tries her heart out, always gives you her best so I wouldn't swap her for anything in the race.”

Slots is the early $5.50 favourite at Sportsbet for the Just Now Quality.

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