As Michelle Payne embarks on another exciting international experience, a racing dream at home in Victoria remains alive for the 2015 Melbourne Cup-winning jockey.
Only hours before she was scheduled to fly to England on Tuesday night to compete in Saturday’s prestigious Shergar Cup jockeys’ team event at Ascot, Payne was at Moonee Valley in Melbourne for the release this year’s Cox Plate nominations.
Kaspersky, the horse Payne rode to fifth in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in June and will partner again in a Group Two 1400m race at Newbury in England on August 19, is among the 141 nominations for Australasia’s weight-for-age championship on October 28.
“He’s only ever run over a mile but they’re different tracks over there,” Payne said.
“They’re really undulating and a lot harder than our tracks so I think if you rode him to run out the 2040 metres he would run it out strongly.
“And he’s a class horse, as you saw when he ran at Royal Ascot. So hopefully all going well he’ll be out here and competing in the Cox Plate because it’s one of my favourite races.
“Obviously everyone wants to win the Melbourne Cup as a jockey but the Cox Plate is something so unique.
“From when I was about eight-years-old I haven’t missed a Cox Plate, so to have an opportunity to ride in it would be amazing.”
Payne said the plan was for the Jane Chapple-Hyam-trained horse to travel to Melbourne with the first shipment of international visitors for the spring carnival.
She said the Toorak Handicap (1600m) could be an ideal lead-up to the Cox Plate while the Group One Kennedy Mile a week after the Cox Plate has also been slated as an option.
Payne, who created history as the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup, said there had been a change in plans regarding her training Kaspersky in Melbourne this spring.
“It was the plan but we decided that it was best to leave him with Jane until after this preparation,” she said.
“He’s going terrific, so why change something that’s going well? And then when he stays out here after this preparation he’ll come to my farm and I’ll be training him from then on.”