Australia’s first openly transgender jockey, Tyler Leslight, yesterday claimed victory in his first ride on a TAB card.
Although Tyler previously won a horse race in Gladstone last month, this was his first broadcast win. That meant a lot to Tyler because, as he told News Corp, his grandfather could watch the race.
“My pop used to train and he would have been sitting at his mate’s place watching it. He hasn’t been able to watch my races until now because they have all been non-Tab meetings and not broadcast on TV.”
Tyler Leslight also said he went into the race feeling confident.
“I knew the horse was a good chance but I never looked at the TAB odds, I don’t do that because it just goes to your head.
“My master (trainer Bevan Johnson) said don’t look at the form, he said just go there and ride the horse like a barrier trial, that’s all it is.
“I was so happy when I crossed the line first. I had only had 12 race rides before that.”
Although some news sites are describing Tyler as Australia’s first transgender jockey, that honour belongs to the far north’s Bill Smith who raced in the 1940s and 1950s.
However, Tyler Leslight has secured a marvellous place in sporting and transgender history as Australia’s first openly transgender jockey.
— RaceQ (@RaceQLD) May 10, 2022
Transitioned at 16
Tyler said he transitioned at 16 and that his mother consequently stopped speaking to him.
“At the time when I was 17, that broke me as a kid and I thought my world was over, it took me a good 12 months to get over that.
“But things happen for a reason, I can’t worry about that sort of stuff and I just have positive people in my life.
“I moved from Victoria as I couldn’t even get a job working as a trackwork rider down there, I started working trackwork in Queensland and I probably couldn’t even ride a donkey.
“There were also people who didn’t want to give me a go or didn’t want the world to know the truth about me.
“They were embarrassed about me.”
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