Prince of Penzance, ridden by Michelle Payne, after winning the Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse.
Prince of Penzance, ridden by Michelle Payne, after winning the Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse. DAN HIMBRECHTS

Payne loses ride on Prince of Penzance

MICHELLE Payne fired some verbal missiles immediately after winning last year's Melbourne Cup on 100-1 shot Prince Of Penzance and she was at it again after learning she had lost the ride on the gelding - at least in the short term.

Concerns over the jockey's fitness have prompted the move, with Prince Of Penzance's owners concerned she has not sufficiently recovered after suffering internal injuries eight weeks ago in a race fall at Mildura.

Payne has been back riding trackwork for only the past three weeks and is yet to gain medical clearance to ride in races, but she obviously believes she is going well enough to take the mount on Prince Of Penzance when he resumes in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes at Caulfield on August 27.

After learning that she was being taken off the seven-year-old, who she has ridden in 24 of his 25 starts, Payne let loose on Twitter.

"Why work your arse off for people who don't appreciate what you do and write you off anyway,” she wrote.

She immediately deleted the tweet, but it had already been retweeted.

Hours later, radio station 3AW reported that it understood Prince Of Penzance's owners had decided to remove Payne as jockey this spring.

Earlier, managing owner John Richards defended the decision to take Payne off the horse.

"We will take it a race at a time picking our jockeys. We are well aware of Michelle's great record on Prince Of Penzance,” he told the Herald Sun.

"At this stage she doesn't even have a medical clearance to ride. It's a Group 1 race and it's a race he ran well in last year so we are trying to do the right thing and give him the best chance of winning.

"To expect that she would ride Prince Of Penzance in the Memsie is ridiculous.

"We want to give him the best possible rider we can in the race.”

Richards said Payne had received medical advice not to ride again and that friends and family had also urged her not to ride.

"We've taken these things into account. We've always had the best interests of Michelle at heart,” he said.

After creating history last year by becoming the first female rider to win the Melbourne Cup, Payne revealed some of Prince Of Penzance's owners had wanted to replace her with a male jockey.

"I know some of the owners were keen to kick me off, and John Richards and (trainer) Darren (Weir) stuck strongly with me,” she told Channel 7 immediately after the race.

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