AN upbeat Graham Kliese will take further strides in his comeback to racing in Cairns on June 25.
The former premiership winning jockey returned to the saddle last month after spending more than two years sidelined with a badly broken left leg.
Doctors inserted a rod, plate and screws to help mend bad breaks to his tibia and fibula suffered in a race smash.
As the months dragged on Kliese underwent three operations but never lost the desire to ride.
"There was a time when a few people thought my career was over but when the surgeon hinted that the leg would come good in time I decided there and then to give it my best shot," Kliese said.
"It was the longest time I had ever been out of racing but fortunately I had good support around me and I had a job away from the track and that gave me a purpose to keep pressing on.
"Unfortunately I am yet to get a winner on the board and there will be people out there saying he's not up to it anymore, he's probably scared or just too old and I get that.
"But let me tell you, I am as hungry as ever and keen to get back into the swing. I believe I have a lot more to offer, I'm trying hard and with this chance I will get to go out on my terms."
Kliese had a handful of rides in Atherton on June 20, with his second placing on Yanalji in the Class B Handicap (1000m) for local trainer Janel Ryan his best result.
He has taken six mounts in Cairns.
He will be aboard the Ryan-trained stablemates Brands Hatch (Sebring-Provence) in the Maiden Handicap (1400m) and Tutelage (Medaglia D'Oro-Harpers) in the Class 2 (1250m).
Kliese is also to ride Beat It (One Lickety Split-Careless And Crazy) in the Combined Two-Years-Old and Three-Years-Old (1250m) for the Trevor Rowe stable, Pure Rebel (Stratum-De Lightning Ridge) for Cairns-based Fred Wieland in the Benchmark 69 (1250m), the Scott Cooper-prepared Sweet Taste (Shinzig-Bad Taste) in the Benchmark 65 (1400m) and Errol Sewell's Red Phantom (Redoute's Choice-Phantom Queen) in the Benchmark 58 Handicap (1900m).
Beat It and Tutelage loom as his best prospects of a comeback win.
Three-year-old Beat It has managed placings in four of his past five outings including three appointments in Cairns and Kliese replaces Sonja Wiseman.
Tutelage, like Kliese, is also on the comeback trail having started once since a spell. He is a winner on the track and has been successful early in previous campaigns.
It will be the first time Kliese and Tutelage have teamed on raceday.