For jockey Michelle Payne, finishing third on a horse owned and trained by her dad Paddy was almost as big a thrill as winning yesterday’s A$1 million VRC Oaks.
There was no repeat of her fairytale win in the Melbourne Cup three years ago but dad, daughter and the many Payne family members trackside at Flemington were “thrilled to bits” with the Oaks result.
Paddy, a man of few words who came out of retirement as a trainer at his family’s urging, rated Michelle’s performance a “good ride”.
“She did well, no doubt about that,” he said.
The three-year-old fillies’ classic was won by Flemington-trained Aristia, with Sydney visitor Greysful Glamour second.
After a less than impressive start to her racing career, Miner’s Miss won her first race at the provincial Avoca on Caulfield Cup day. Neither trainer or jockey expected the filly would win yesterday.
“I never thought it would win but I was happy it ran third,” Paddy said.
The result was extra special given father and daughter chose Miner’s Miss together, paying A$10,500 for the daughter of VRC Derby winner Rebel Raider at a weanling auction.
“We stood there for three days trying to pick a couple of fillies and it took us until about the third or fourth day to find one we liked, for the right price,” Michelle recalled.
Now a trainer herself, Michelle does a lot of work with her dad.
“We have a few arguments along the way,” she admitted, with Paddy agreeing. “But it’s so good. It can’t get any better than this.”
As for those arguments, Michelle put them down to disagreements over a few different training ideas. “But Dad might have taught me a thing or two along the way,” she conceded
Michelle became the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup on outsider Prince of Penzance, who like Miner’s Miss was a 100-1 shot. She now juggles her riding commitments with training 15 horses and loves it.
Legendary French trainer Criquette Head-Maarek, the first female trainer to win Europe’s most prestigious race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, was at Flemington and congratulated Michelle on her placing. The pair know each other well after Payne spent several months working for Head-Maarek in 2009.