Michelle Payne sidelined for some weeks

Michelle Payne’s family will leave a decision on retirement to the jockey who is recovering from abdominal surgery after a race fall.

But her brother Patrick admits it might be hard to convince the Melbourne Cup winner to give away her career.

“We tried to talk her out of it a while ago,” Payne told Sky Sports Radio.

“We’ve encouraged her to retire but it’s her decision.

“What more does she have to do?

“But she will make that decision. She is a pig-headed little bugger.

Michelle is the youngest of 10 children, many of whom including Patrick have been successful jockeys.

Now a trainer, Patrick Payne said his sister was in good spirits after the operation on Tuesday, a day after she fell at Mildura.

She came off one of his horses, Dutch Courage, with initial indications that the horse stood on her.


“I spoke to Michelle last night,” he said.

“She is in good spirits. She is knocked around a bit but is coping pretty well.

“She is well aware of the dangers but she loves doing it.

“We tried to talk her out of it a while ago and last time she said she would regret it but I’m not sure about her thoughts now.”

Her family tried to convince her to give up riding after a March 2004 fall that left her with a fractured skull and bruising to her brain.

In 2012 she broke four vertebrae and several ribs in another fall.

Payne is expected to remain in hospital for at least a week and her recovery will take a couple of months.

The 30-year-old became the first woman to win the Melbourne Cup in November aboard 100-1 shot Prince Of Penzance, which scored her an invitation to the Shergar Cup international jockeys challenge as part of the “Girls Team” on August 6 at Ascot.

She had hoped to get rides at the prestigious Royal Ascot meeting in June during her stay in Europe, and also planned to ride in a female jockeys’ race in Sweden.

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