Michelle Payne Stood Down After Positive Test for Appetite Suppressant

It is a tricky slope that must be navigated when attempting to determine what constitutes unmitigated cheating in the form of substances designed to increase athletic performance, and what is simply normal behaviour.

Women have been sold a body image that places an emphasis on maintaining a thin profile. That societal trend took off in the mid-60s, when a British model going by the name of Twiggy overnight redefined the ideal of feminine physique.

When she first appeared on the scene, she looked starvation-thin. Looking back at her images now, she appears practically Ruben-esque compared to the models of modern vintage.

Which leads us to 2015 Melbourne winning jockey Michelle Payne.

Payne is being hauled in front of the Racing Victoria panel for testing positive for a banned substance. Racing Analytical Services Limited told the stewards that Payne had tested positive for the banned substance Phentermine, a physician-prescribed drug that is used for weight control via the process of appetite suppression. It has been available for many decades.

Payne was caught by a urine swab that was administered by the anti-doping group at a Swan Hill meeting on June 11. The result was made public three days after Swan made her debut at Royal Ascot in England.

The stewards have stood Payne down. She cannot ride in races or trackwork.

Payne’s father claims that Michelle took an over-the-counter dietary capsule that he said might have been Neuroform. This product allegedly is available online in the U.S. and Europe, yet, when we plugged the name into our search engines, our results came up empty. Our search results and our reaction to that was akin to what it would have been if we had typed “Australian bookmakers” into our query and instead of having a page covered with results pertaining to Sportsbet, Ladbrokes, etcetera, we would have received links to Australian printing houses.

At any rate, does trying to adhere to a low body weight make Payne guilty of some crime? Certainly, jockey weight plus imposts means that what the jockey lacks in weight is made up by the stewards.

For as long as there has been horseracing, jockeys have deliberately wasted. Is it somehow more righteous to do that through willpower-induced starvation, rather than with the assistance of a benign supplement?

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