Michelle Payne: has not ridden since falling at Mildura in May
By Peter Scargill 8:00AM 8 SEP 2016
Australia: Michelle Payne will ride for the first time on Sunday since sustaining serious injuries in a fall in May which left her considering her future as a rider.
The jockey will return with two rides at Sale, east of Melbourne, after striking up an impromptu conversation with Lucky Liberty’s trainer Henry Dwyer about a fence.
Dwyer told racing.com: “I rang Michelle to speak about a fence we need to build between our adjacent properties. We were just chatting away and sorting that out and then I just asked Michelle how her weight was. She said she was feeling great and down to 54kg and then I immediately thought of Lucky Liberty as I was needing a rider for Sunday.
“Michelle has obviously worked hard to get herself back fit and ready to ride again and I’m glad we can give her an opportunity. The timing of it has just worked out well.”
Payne, 30, made history last year when she became the first female rider to win the Melbourne Cup when steering 100-1 chance Prince Of Penzance to victory at Flemington, after which she told those who doubted the ability of female riders to “get stuffed”.
However, her career was thrown into doubt earlier this year when a fall at Mildura racecourse, east of Adelaide, in May left her needing surgery on her pancreas, while her brother Patrick called for her to quit the saddle.
Payne took the first steps towards that by applying for a special trainer-jockey licence, which came into effect last month, and revealed she had purchased a farm in Ballarat, north west of Melbourne, as a base for her training career.