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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Melbourne Cup heroine Michelle Payne fined over track comments made on Twitter

Michelle Payne: expressed her concerns about the ground at Flemington on social media
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Michelle Payne was fined A$300 by stewards at Flemington on Saturday for her comments on social media that expressed concerns about the firmness of the track.

While the Melbourne Cup-winning jockey and successful trainer was delighted with her filly Sweet Rockette's closing fourth behind Smart Melody in the Listed Cap D'Antibes Stakes, she'd earlier tweeted that the three-year-old could be scratched if the track was too firm.

Payne tweeted: "Likely to scratch Sweet Rockette if the track looks too firm. And cop another fine for looking after my horse and owners. Absolute bull****!"

Speaking on Racing.com pre-race, Payne said she was sympathetic for the predicament of Flemington track manager Liam O'Keeffe but believes tracks should be presented with sufficient give for feature racedays.

Forecast rain missed Flemington on Saturday morning, which saw the track rated a 'Good 3' prior to the running of the first race.

"I feel for Liam O'Keefe the track manager because he's under a lot of pressure," Payne said. "The rain was predicted but it didn't come.

"Speaking to him before walking the track, he said it would be lovely if he had a policy in place where he watered whether it was going to rain or not just to cover himself.

"If he put five millimetres [of irrigation] on yesterday, this track would have been absolutely ideal for every horse out there today and we wouldn't have a problem."

Payne, who apologised to chief steward Robert Cram when pleading guilty to the misconduct charge on Saturday, was fined A$500 in July after using Twitter to critique the racing surface at Sandown.


Racing.com for all the latest news from Australia and New Zealand


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I feel for Liam O'Keefe the track manager because he's under a lot of pressure
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