MICHELLE Payne’s riding long-term future is again in the air after a fall in Ararat yesterday.
Payne was taken to Ballarat Base Hospital with lower back pain, but had feeling in her arms and legs.
She was knocked unconscious briefly and believed to have suffered a mild concussion after being dislodged when the Darren Weir-trained first-starter Julinsky fell entering the home straight in the opening event.
The mishap means she will miss the ride on Yosei in the group 1 George Main Stakes in Sydney today.
Payne had also been booked to take the reins on leading contender Lord of Brazil for Weir in tomorrow’s $60,000 Westag Kubota Gold Nugget Handicap, 1600m, on her home track in Ballarat.
A last-start Mildura Cup winner, Lord of Brazil is one of four runners in the feature event from the Weir stable.
He also has a big chance with imported French galloper Puissance de Lune, which won his first two starts for Weir and is first-up in his pursuit of starts in the Melbourne Cup.
The fall continues a horror run for Payne.
She has not long been back in the saddle after a lengthy spell on the sidelines with five fractured vertebrae and several broken ribs, suffered in a fall at Donald in May.
The 26-year-old said after that fall that she was determined to return to the track, but that another serious injury would almost certainly lead to her retirement.
Payne fractured a skull in a race fall in 2004, while a fall early last year left her with fractures in her neck.
Yesterday’s fall came after a dramatic build-up to the race, with fellow jockey Daniel Stackhouse taken to hospital after a mishap in the barriers.
The race start was delayed by nearly an hour after that incident
Stackhouse was thrown from his mount Goes Bellistic in a barrier incident before the first race.
A malfunction in the hydraulic system of the barrier stalls, believed to be caused by the incident involving Goes Bellistic, created a problem with the opening of the gates and caused a false start.