Michelle Payne endures yet another major heartbreak

First, Michelle Payne fell of her horse in a race fall at Mildura. Then, she had to undergo emergency surgery as her pancreas tore
Photo: YouTube (Melbourne University Publishing).

First, Michelle Payne fell of her horse in a race fall at Mildura. Then, she had to undergo emergency surgery as her pancreas tore and this eventually caused her to become a diabetic.

Now, the Melbourne Cup-winning jockey has had to endure another major heartbreak – the owners of last year’s champion has advised her to retire.

Payne’s dreams of a second Melbourne Cup win on Prince Of Penzance was shattered yesterday, reports The Telegraph.

The first Cup-winning ­female jockey tweeted: “not anymore I’m done. Why work your arse off for people who don’t appreciate what you do and write you off anyway #moretolife”.


She deleted the comment within minutes but it had been widely retweeted by then.

Payne was understable upset when she discovered she wouldn’t be riding Prince Of Penzance in his return to racing in the Memsie Stakes on August 29 at Caulfield.

Managing-owner John Richards said the horse’s owners were only thinking of Payne’s best interests.

“She’s had medical advice not to ride again, which she’s chosen to ignore,” Richards said. “Her friends and family have also told her not to ride. We’ve taken these things into account. We’ve always had the best interests of ­Michelle at heart.

“We wish she would rest on her laurels. There’s nothing more for her to gain by riding on.”

Michelle’s father Paddy Payne Sr said he was “very surprised that they’ve taken her off”. “Is that how you treat a Melbourne Cup-winning jockey?” he asked.

“They could have given her a few more weeks. She’s keen and riding and working very hard.”

Last year, Payne famously criticised Prince Of Penzance’s owners just minutes after she rode the $101 outsider to victory.

“It’s such a chauvinistic sport, a lot of the owners wanted to kick me off,” she said at the Cup presentation.

“I want to say to everyone else, get stuffed, because they think women aren’t strong enough but we just beat the world.”

Richards insisted Payne had been overlooked only for the Memsie Stakes run.

“We will take it a race at a time picking our jockeys,” Richards said.

“We are well aware of Michelle’s great record on Prince Of Penzance. At this stage we don’t think Michelle is fit enough.

“The owners haven’t made a decision on the rest of his spring campaign.”

While it’s clear that Payne has been denied the race, no one person admitted to calling the shots. Sandy McGregor, a senior part-owner of the horse, said it rested with trainer Darren Weir and Richards but but Weir, a long-time Payne supporter, said the decision was the owners’ call.

Richards said he didn’t think Payne should be upset and that the owners didn’t believe Payne could be ready to ride Prince Of Penzance in a Group 1 in 16 days. “At this stage she doesn’t even have a medical clearance to ride,” he said.

Although Payne has ridden Prince Of Penzance in 24 of his 25 races and was in the saddle for all seven of the seven-year-old’s victories, Richards said, “She’s got to remember we have stuck with her all throughout Prince Of Penzance’s career and we put her on in last year’s Melbourne Cup.”

Do you think that decision was a fair one to make without consulting Michelle?

  1. star55  

    if you don’t have your health then what DO you have ? i feel sorry for Michelle, she has now become reckless with her own life,.

    • J M Kozak  

      I think they should let her ride in the Melbourne Cup as she is a great rider and also she knows the horse more than any other jockey give her a fair chance

  2. Cheryl Pullin  

    Richards may have put her on it but hey she won the race for you ????
    This jockey and horse belong together
    Not hard to read between the lines with this crowd they don’t even have the guts to own the decision being made sound like kids at school passing the buck
    Very unprofessional
    Michelle is a dedicated jockey she has done Australia proud
    She is entitled to hold her head high unlike you lot shame on you

    • Most importantly she requires a medical certificate to ride in any race, which it states she does not have. If she rode without a clearance the owners of the horse would most likely be in serious trouble if she rode and and accident occurred injuring her further. It reads they are only looking at this stage of Michelle not riding this horse in the next race. Michelle would be aware she can’t ride in a race without a medical clearance so she needs to get hold of a medical certificate first. Not having a medical clearance, Michelle should just take for granted she can’t ride in the race.

  3. Joan Harwood  

    I think a meeting should have been afforded to Michelle given her loyalty to the owners over the years. Having the knowledge of no medical clearance and with so much at stake it is hard to go with Michelle. It is a very hard decision to make. Heartbreaking for Michelle but I empathise with the owners. I had the same experience.

  4. alan stonham  

    the owners are dillusional,michelle won ausralias greatest race on there horse,at odds of 100/1,with an outstanding ride,they are now the owners of a melbourne cup winner,the only one that thought the horse could win was the jockey,you would not take her off,i hope michelle picks up another ride,she is the best judge of what she can do

    • irene Lahz  

      my husband bill is furious he thinks Michelle Payne should have a chance to ride if. she thinks she is well enough me I am worried. She has not got a clearence so can see both sides they could mybe have talked more about it ride another horse and let them eat the words when u. Win Michelle Payne. Irene. Lahz

  5. Let’s not forget insurance companies cover these races – health and safety rules apply – it’s awful but she is fortunate previous injuries are healing – it might not be so fortunate again. She is probably shattered her love of horses and racing but it’s a case of “best not”

  6. Vicki Ellis  

    She was trusted with the horse before, yet not now. She wants to ride. It is her life, her love ad her choice. The reason she has probably worked so hard to come back is her passion for the sport. Let her ride.

  7. Noel Pascoe  

    First three paragraphs, three mistakes in grammar. Simple ones. They spoil the otherwise good story for me.

  8. Deborah  

    Poor form indeed! Would seem she was so right about the owners in her speech following the Melbourne Cup – they are so chauvenistic that they are deciding what is best for her!!! Oh really, I am sure they would just love telling them that they should “retire” so they can rest on their laurels!
    If she is so bad, why is her dad not concerned???
    Many don’t realise the strong bond that forms between a horse and jockey – it is like they have told her she can’t have anything to do with her close friend or her pet.
    The greatest irony would be for her to ride a horse in the Melbourne Cup that beats theirs!

  9. Danielle  

    Shame on you , she is a delicated jockey, that no way to treat Michelle

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