Horse racing: Trailblazing jockey Payne fails drug test

MELBOURNE • Michelle Payne, the first woman jockey to ride a Melbourne Cup winner, has been stood down after failing a doping test, racing stewards said yesterday.

She had tested positive for Phentermine, a banned appetite suppressant, after submitting a urine sample at a regional meeting in Swan Hill in Australia's southern state of Victoria on June 11.

Racing Victoria (RV) stewards will conduct an inquiry into the results, the state authority said in a statement.

"Stewards have received a report from Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) confirming the presence of Phentermine... in the sample provided," RV said.

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"Ms Payne was advised of (the) findings and stood down from riding in races and trackwork by stewards on 23 June 2017."

Payne, from a family steeped in racing, shot to international fame in 2015 when she won the 155-year-old Melbourne Cup, Australia's richest and most famous horse race.

The trailblazing ride on Prince of Penzance - a 100-1 outsider - earned her the Don Award last year, the nation's top prize for sporting achievement.

Jockey Michelle Payne punching the air after becoming the first female jockey to win the 155-year-old Melbourne Cup in 2015.
Jockey Michelle Payne punching the air after becoming the first female jockey to win the 155-year-old Melbourne Cup in 2015. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The Australian's remarks to local broadcaster Channel Seven after the race also went down in sporting folklore, as she spoke of her battle for respect in a "chauvinist" industry.

"I want to say to everyone else, get stuffed, because women can do anything and we can beat the world," she said.

She had surgery after a heavy fall during a ride in Mildura last year and had a long period of rehabilitation before returning to the track last September.

Last week, she rode Kaspersky to a fifth-place finish in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2017, with the headline 'Trailblazing jockey Payne fails drug test'. Print Edition | Subscribe