The Sportingbet Classic ride on Platelet appears to be a poisoned chalice.
Damian Lane was the original choice but stewards suspended him for 24 meetings for careless riding at Saturday’s Caulfield meeting.
Connections then booked Michelle Payne to partner Platelet in her bid for back-to-back wins in the Group One race at Morphettville on Saturday.
However, Payne found herself in trouble with stewards at Caulfield on Easter Monday.
Payne pleaded guilty to a careless riding charge arising from her only ride of the day in the Elvis `Ricky’ Thurgood 34th Anniversary Plate (1200m).
Stewards considered Payne’s good riding record and guilty plea but could only reduce the jockey’s penalty to seven meetings.
Payne will be able to resume riding on April 30, which is the first day of the three-meeting Warrnambool carnival.
Platelet’s managing owner Darren Dance said the fact many of Australia’s best jockeys were riding in Sydney on Saturday narrowed the choice of riders.
But Dance remained confident he would find a suitable rider to partner Platelet.
“The phone will certainly be running hot over the next few days but we’ll be able to find the right jockey,” Dance said.
The Darren Weir-trained mare was ridden by Ben Melham to win the Sportingbet Classic-Goodwood sprint double at last year’s Adelaide carnival.
Melham has been out of action for several months after undergoing double hip surgery.