As Michelle Payne recovers from surgery, a family horse can provide a tonic with an important win at Sandown.
Angelology, a jumper trained by Payne’s brother Patrick, will contest the $125,000 Australian Steeplechase at a time his Melbourne Cup-winning sister is at a crossroads in her riding career.
Michelle remains in a Melbourne hospital following abdominal surgery after she fell from a horse trained by Patrick in a race at Mildura on Monday.
An outstanding jockey before weight forced him out of the saddle, Patrick said it might be time for his sister to reconsider her future.
“We tried to talk her out of (riding) a while ago,” he told Sky Sports Radio.
“We’ve encouraged her to retire but it’s her decision. What more does she have to do?
“But she will make that decision. She is a pig-headed little bugger.
While his thoughts are clearly with the youngest of 10 siblings, Patrick is confident Angelology is ready to complete a successful transition from hurdles to steeplechase racing.
With his sisters Maree and Cathy as part-owners of Angelology, Patrick sent the seven-year-old over the bigger obstacles for the first time for a last-start Ballarat placing when he conceded 9.5kg to the winner Hucknall.
“He jumped well but he just had to give away too much weight,” Payne said.
“We missed a couple of races because the tracks were too hard so he might have been lacking a bit of match practice.
“He’s taken benefit from the run and trained on really well.”
Payne said there was quality in the Australian Steeplechase, but he expected Angelology’s honesty to take him a long way.
“You have to respect the opposition but he’s a really genuine horse and he’ll do what he can for you,” he said.
Payne will also start Raposo in the George Malone Memorial Plate with a likely change of tactics after being ridden upside at is most recent start.
He’s expecting an improved showing from Raposo who he insists was ridden too close when resuming at Warrnambool.
“We’ve tried to reset him in a recent trial at Tatura and he was ridden out the back,” Payne said.