Michelle Payne Riding Again at Sale Country Meeting
Riding for the first time since experiencing severe internal injuries in a May 23 fall that was almost career-ending, Michelle Payne returned to the saddle in a country handicap at Sale with a fourth place finish aboard Lucky Liberty.
She was visibly lifted emotionally after the race, no doubt ecstatic to discover that she could still ride.
The 2015 winner of the Melbourne Cup aboard 100 – 1 longshot Prince of Penzance, the comeback ride required persistence and an eagerness to return to the sport, without which the 30-year-old Payne might have had to settle into an acceptance of being the answer to a future trivia question.
A sparse crowd was on hand to witness the occasion, but it was a supportive one that shouted encouragement and support to her as she took her first ride in almost four months.
Obviously, Payne would welcome the opportunity of a reprise of her improbable Melbourne Cup win, and it is certain that if Prince runs in defense of the Cup, she should be worthy of consideration for the ride.
Payne’s mount at Sale, Lucky Liberty, is also on a comeback campaign. The five-year-old bay gelding won three races in late 2014 and early 2015, but fell off in the Group 3 CS Hayes and the Group 1 Australian Guineas at Flemington, running 11th and 13, respectively, finishing ahead of only one of the field.