Melbourne Cup defence still an option for Michelle Payne

Injured jockey Michelle Payne won’t be rushed into making a decision if or when she returns to the saddle, but she still has plenty of time to recover to defend her Melbourne Cup crown on Prince Of Penzance.

Jockey Michelle Payne is out of hospital and is still recovering from pancreatic surgery. Photo by  Sarah Ebbett.

Jockey Michelle Payne is out of hospital and is still recovering from pancreatic surgery. Photo by Sarah Ebbett.

Payne was released from Melbourne’s The Alfred Hospital yesterday after undergoing pancreatic surgery to repair damage she sustained in a race fall at Mildura on May 23.

The Melbourne Cup winning jockey is keen to return to the riding but said that she would take the advice of her doctors before making a decision on her future in the saddle.

“In terms of what the future holds, I’m going to be guided by my doctors and how I feel in myself. I have plenty of time to make a decision, and that won’t be my focus for at least another month or so,” Payne told the Herald Sun.

“The main thing is to get better but at this stage I still have the fire in the belly for another spring carnival.”

“A binder will help protect my organs and the scar for the next month or when I start training again.”

“A lot of questions have been asked about when I will ride again, there’s still a fire in the belly but I want to concentrate on getting better and then make the right decision.”

Payne gained worldwide stardom when she became the first female jockey to win Australia’s most famous race, the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington, on $101 outsider Prince Of Penzance during the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival.

Following her Melbourne Cup winning ride, Payne was swamped with social and riding engagements including an invitation to ride at Royal Ascot, Ireland, France and Sweden in June, but the trip had to be put on the backburner.

Payne was reunited with the Darren Weir trained Prince Of Penzance at Morphettville on May 21 and at his first run since winning the Melbourne Cup ran a mighty race to finish second to stablemate Tonopah in the Group 3 $150,000 Robert & Fay Gerard R A Lee Stakes (1600m).

Prince Of Penzance is currently a $34 chance at Ladbrokes.com.au for the 2016 Melbourne Cup.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.

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