Michelle Payne to make complete recovery

By: Mark Mazzaglia
May 18th, 2012

Michelle Payne is expected to make a complete recovery from injuries she received in a nasty fall at Donald last Sunday.

Victoria’s top female jockey was tossed into the turf when her mount El Divine stumbled out of the starting gates resulting in five fractured vertebrae and several broken ribs.

Payne said that her doctors told her that she will make a complete recovery in six weeks so the 26 year old said she would sit out the Winter and be fit to ride again in the Spring with no thoughts of retiring at this stage.

“I’m fully expecting to make a full recovery and my aim is to retire on my terms,” Payne said.

“My sisters have been on to me to give it away, but they’ve all ridden. They understand it’s what I love doing, risks and all.”

The Group 1 winning  jockey has contemplated retiring when she turned 28 but then extended her timeline to 30 as she got close to her deadline.

But now she has reverted back to 28 even though family and friends are trying to convince her to retire now following her second serious fall that she has endured after being left with a fractured skull and bruising to the brain from a heavy tumble in March 2004.

“I was always going to retire at 28, that was my number. Then it was coming up too quick, so I said 30. But after this fall, maybe 28 might see me out.”

Payne tells of her horror immediately after the fall when she lost feeling in her legs for a short time and thought that she was going to end up like her friend Louise Cooper who got smashed up in a fall at Edenhope in March and is unlikely to walk again.

“I was shocked, I couldn’t move my legs straight away,” Payne said.

“I started to panic. It felt like minutes, but it might have been 30 seconds. It was such a huge relief, I started moving my legs. It was all I was worried about.”

Payne has ridden four Group 1 winners, three of them aboard her favourite mare Yosei plus Allez Wonder for Cups King Bart Cummings in the 2009 Toorak Handicap.

And this season she has ridden sixty-six winners from a total of 576 rides and continues the tradition of the famous Victorian racing family which had produced eight jockeys from eleven children including top jockey Patrick who went on to win the 2002 Cox Plate on the recently deceased Western Australian champion Northerly.

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