Aussie ace Payne out to hit the headlines again
Melbourne Cup star rides Kapersky in Queen Anne at Ascot on Tuesday
When Michelle Payne became the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup the horse she did it on was a 100-1 outsider, so do not expect her to be daunted by the prospect of partnering 66-1 shot Kaspersky as more history awaits in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot on Tuesday.
It is safe to say Payne's life has changed since she guided Prince Of Penzance to a half-length win in Australia's greatest race on the first Tuesday of November in 2015.
A movie is being made about her and she now also has a trainers' licence – "We're very busy these days and there's never a dull moment," she has said – but the spotlight will shine even brighter if the 31-year-old becomes only the second lady rider to win a race at Royal Ascot after Gay Kelleway.
Her hopes of doing it rest on the Jane Chapple-Hyam-trained Kaspersky, a four-time Group winner when trained in Italy who finished fifth in a Listed race at Ascot on his first British start before coming second in a Nottingham handicap last month.
Those efforts leave the six-year-old son of Footstepsinthesand with something to find in the opening race of the royal meeting on Tuesday, but Payne hopes he can outrun his long odds.
"Jane has Kaspersky in great order and he's peaking perfectly for the big day," she said. "I've been riding him in his recent work and he is a quality galloper who is in great order. Just trotting off on him you can feel his quality. There are some fantastic horses lined up against him but it will be very exciting to have a go and hopefully he can make his presence felt."
Payne, who had some worries over her visa that have been overcome, added: "Who knows what can happen in racing? The possibilities are endless. If you work hard, you never know. Royal Ascot is a fantastic occasion and it's a dream to be involved. Everyone at home is excited for me as well and setting their alarms to be up early to watch."