Michelle Payne: Royal Ascot debut for Melbourne Cup-winning jockey

By Frank KeoghBBC Sport
Michelle Payne on Prince Of Penzance
Payne won the Melbourne Cup on 100-1 outsider Prince Of Penzance

Michelle Payne, the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup, has revealed she is set to ride at Royal Ascot for the first time next month.

"I've been as a spectator before and this year I'm really hopeful of getting a ride," she told BBC Sport.

Trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam said she has two potential mounts earmarked for her 30-year-old fellow Australian.

Payne could ride Solar Deity in the Royal Hunt Cup, and The Twisler in the Gold Cup on Ladies' Day.

"When she was in England before, she rode me a winner," said the Newmarket-based trainer. "We are friends.

"She's won a Melbourne Cup and I'm a Melbourne girl. so let's give it a go."

Payne, who made history in November by winning the Melbourne Cup on 100-1 shot Prince Of Penzance, said she might also be booked by Australia-based owners OTI Racing for one of their horses at the meeting, which starts on 14 June.

"I'm heading over to England in June, coming over to hopefully ride at Royal Ascot, riding in Sweden and travelling around Europe and coming back to Ascot for the Shergar Cup in August," she added.

"Hopefully I can then come back to Australia, and really concentrate on the spring when hopefully there will be more opportunities from last year's success.

"And, who knows, Prince Of Penzance might be able to come back and have another crack at it."

Michelle Payne after her Melbourne Cup win
Payne celebrates after her Melbourne Cup win in November

The wonders from Down Under

Payne rode Iasia to victory for Chapple-Hyam at Warwick seven years ago.

"She was very canny and walked the track twice and worked out that going round by the far rail would be better," said the trainer.

Solar Deity was only bought last Friday with a view to running at Ascot, while The Twisler's long-term target could be a crack at the Melbourne Cup

The Twisler will make his seasonal debut this month, either in Berlin on 15 May or at Goodwood or York later in the month.

If he runs in the Gold Cup, it would see a female jockey riding for a female trainer on a horse part-owned by a woman on Ladies' Day in a race named in honour of the Queen's 90th birthday.

"It will be hard, he'd be a 33-1 shot, and we're in the lap of the gods as we'd want some overnight rain. We'll be the only ladies wanting it to rain on Ladies' Day," added Chapple-Hyam.

Northern Irish rider Sammy Jo-Bell with Canada's Emma-Jayne Wilson and English rider Hayley Turner
Last year's Shergar Cup winners - Sammy Jo-Bell, Emma-Jayne Wilson and Hayley Turner

Girl power at Ascot

In August, Payne will be in the team of female jockeys looking to retain the Shergar Cup at Ascot, where she expects to ride alongside Irish jockey Cathy Gannon and Canadian Emma-Jayne Wilson.

Payne, who told chauvinists to "get stuffed" after her Melbourne Cup triumph, will compete against male riders representing Great Britain and Ireland, Europe and the Rest of the World.

"The Shergar Cup is a prime example of matching it with the guys. The female team beat everybody last time," she said.

"They've got the best jockeys from all around the world competing. The girls' team was the most successful and took out the riding honours.

"I'm just over the moon to be invited. It's such a prestigious event and I've watched it for many years. I'm so excited to be joining the girls' team and can't wait for us to show them what we've got."

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