Michelle Payne Awed by Pomp and Circumstance at Pom Track

Describing the experience of riding at England’s Royal Ascot as “massive,” Australian hoop Michelle Payne guided Kaspersky to a fifth place finish in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes.

More massive than guiding Prince of Penzance to the post in the 2015 Melbourne Cup?

Were we jockeys, which we are not, because the horse that could carry us has yet to be bred, we think we would value any win over a fifth anywhere, regardless of venue.

Still, fifth place in a prestigious Group 1 race is nothing over which to hang one’s head and Kaspersky performed more or less to expectations. The brown stallion has never run better than fourth at the Group 1 level and his most significant wins would have to be considered the Group 2 Premio Carlo Vittadini in Italy and the Group 2 Meilen Trophy in Germany.

Kaspersky has made 22 starts for 12 wins and 3 placings, earning about $AUD430,000, but it would seem that he is beyond his class when it comes to one of England’s top races.

Payne declared that Kaspersky could do well in the Melbourne Spring Carnival, but the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes established a new course record. Payne pointed out that British thoroughbred racing uses pacemakers, which makes for a significant difference for milers, as there is no sitting back and waiting to unleash a massive run over the final 200 m.

Payne was notable for being only the second woman to ride a winner at Royal Ascot. The only other to win was Gay Kellaway in 1987.

Payne was overwhelmed by the media attention she received and mainly seemed awestruck at the prospect of competing at Royal Ascot.

Perhaps her newfound notoriety will gain her some respect in Oz and she will get a few more rides at the metro tracks, in particular, the NSW venues that seem to have excluded her at times.

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