Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Michelle Payne is excited to get back to the races and says she couldn’t be happier to make her comeback on a horse she knows well.
Payne will make her return on Sunday at Sale in country Victoria after trainer Henry Dwyer offered her the ride on Lucky Liberty, a horse Payne has ridden in all five of his starts.
Payne created history last November when she became the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup, guiding Prince Of Penzance to a famous victory.
She hasn’t ridden competitively since she underwent pancreatic surgery after a race fall at Mildura in May and was recently granted a dual trainer/jockey licence in Victoria.
“I’m just really looking forward to getting back out there,” Payne told RSN927.
“I’ve been feeling like I’m getting close the last two or three weeks and when Henry asked me to ride Lucky Liberty it just felt right, so I’m really looking forward to Sunday.”
A phone call between Dwyer and Payne on Thursday about building a fence between their adjacent properties in Ballarat was the catalyst for Payne making her return this weekend.
“At the end of the conversation Henry asked how my weight was and if I’d like to ride Lucky Liberty,” Payne said.
“I couldn’t have been happier when he asked me.”
Lucky Liberty had been due to make his own return from injury the day before at Sandown but the races were abandoned.
“It’s so funny how sometimes things pan out,” Payne said.
Payne has a couple of horses in work at Ballarat and said she will take things as they come in her comeback to the saddle.
She has two rides at Sale with the other the Luke Oliver-trained Birds Of Tokyo.
“Obviously it’s very hard for any jockey to get rides at the moment, so I’ll just do my best and see what happens,” Payne said.
“I’m very focused on the horses I have in training as well so that will be taking up a lot of my time. So I just have to see how it goes.”
Payne has been riding work for the past couple of months but said being pain free in the past couple of weeks has paved the way for her to return to the races.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au