MICHELLE Payne’s latest slice of bad luck has left her battered and bruised, but it has not cooled her passion to ride.
Payne, who is nursing five fractured vertebrae and two broken ribs following a race fall at Donald on Sunday, says she is determined to continue her career as a jockey despite concerns from those closest to her.
The 26-year-old has been encouraged to give away the sport by family members, but she is having none of it.
“I love riding and I would like to make sure I give up on my own terms, not just walk out of it. I want to make sure I’m content with myself when I retire and do something else. I don’t want to regret it,” Payne said.
“It’s not a bad enough injury that I’m not going to recover from and not going to be right to ride again. I’ll bounce back and push on.” Payne did, however, indicated the time to hang up the whip would eventually come.
She had originally planned on giving up at age 28 in favour of starting a family, but is now saying she wants a little more time in the saddle.
“I won’t ride past 30,” she said.
Payne, who rode Yosei to third in last month’s Doncaster Mile, is the youngest member from Ballarat’s iconic racing family. Her Cox Plate-winning brother Patrick, who won the race aboard the late Northerly, has made the switch from jockey to trainer. Payne partnered her brother’s horse Hot Lover to victory at Flemington on May 5, which was the second-last winner she rode before Sunday’s fall.
Her latest success was aboard Darren Weir-trained Love My World, which scored impressively at Dowling Forest last week.