Regardless of the results of Monday’s extensive concussion tests, injured jockey Michelle Payne says she will definitely retire from riding within two years.
The Group One-winning rider has had a series of tumbles and a number of concussions, the most recent of which followed a fall from Julinsky at Ararat in Victoria in September.
Earlier, a serious fall at Donald in May left her with four fractured vertebrae, several cracked ribs and concussion, and Payne on Monday completed a compulsory neurological test which will determine whether Racing Victoria renews her licence.
And although she wants to return to racing for now, 27-year-old Payne said she doesn’t want to be forced out by injury.
“I’ll definitely be retiring in the next year or two,” she told AAP.
“I didn’t want to ride until I was really old, anyway.
“I’m just going to take it as it comes, see how I’m going.”
The results of the gruelling three-hour test won’t be known for a fortnight, but Payne is confident.
“The lady testing me said she thought I did well,” she said.
“For the first month or so I really felt the effects of the fall. I was booked in a month ago to do the test and I put it back because I didn’t feel I would have passed it then,” Payne said.
“But I’ve had a big improvement in the last month and yesterday I felt like I would pass, but I didn’t want to be too confident until I’d actually done it.”
Payne said she had been exercising again and improving her fitness, although she still needed physiotherapy for her neck, which suffered whiplash during the fall.
“I feel as though my neck is the only thing holding me up,” she said.
Assuming she passes her concussion test, Payne is hoping to be back in the saddle riding trackwork mid-December, and racing again at the end of January.