GAI’S MY HERO

‘An in­spi­ra­tion to women in rac­ing’

Sunday Herald Sun - - Front Page - FIONA BYRNE

MEL­BOURNE Cup hero Michelle Payne has de­scribed cham­pion trainer Gai Water­house as an in­spi­ra­tion in a tough in­dus­try.

Payne last week re­vealed her goals as a jockey-trainer in­cluded hav­ing a run­ner in the Mel­bourne Cup and that she had teamed with Dar­ren Dance’s Aus­tralian Thor­ough­bred Blood­stock to find qual­ity horses to syn­di­cate and train.

Water­house, who won the Cup with Fiorente in 2013, has backed Payne’s move into train­ing. “It’s an im­mense chal­lenge and a very hard job, you have to find the horses and find peo­ple to pay the bills, it’s a never-end­ing story,” she said.

“But she’s a very good horse­woman and to be a suc­cess­ful lady jockey in Aus­tralia you’ve got to be de­ter­mined. She will do a very good job.”

Payne, 31, said Water­house was a role model: “She had to break down bar­ri­ers to be­come a trainer and she is a tough lady. It is peo­ple like that who in­spire you when things are tough and show you that things are pos­si­ble.

She added: “You need peo­ple like that in your life to prove that if you push for it you can achieve your dreams; she is an in­spi­ra­tion.’’

Payne, an am­bas­sador for the Gold Coast’s 2017 Magic Mil­lions rac­ing car­ni­val, will turn her hand from race rid­ing to polo next Sun­day, tak­ing part in the All-Star game at the Pa­cific Fair Magic Mil­lions Polo tour­na­ment.

She will play along­side Chan­nel 7 rac­ing ex­pert Francesca Cu­mani and her hus­band, Rob Archibald.

“I love a chal­lenge, I’m very com­pet­i­tive,’’ said Payne.

“I’ve had a cou­ple of games. Rid­ing the horse I found pretty easy, but I re­ally had to fo­cus on hit­ting the ball and get­ting my tech­nique right.’’

Ticket in­for­ma­tion is at mag­icmil­lion­spolo.com.au

THE Queen’s grand­daugh­ter, Zara Phillips, is on track to ar­rive in Aus­tralia early in the new year with her former rugby star hus­band, Mike Tin­dall, to take part in the Magic Mil­lions rac­ing car­ni­val.

Phillips is a patron of the car­ni­val, which en­cour­ages and recog­nises women’s in­volve­ment in rac­ing and wider eques­trian sports.

Phillips — who has a daugh­ter, Mia, who turns three on Jan­uary 17 — re­cently suf­fered a mis­car­riage. The Olympic medal­list will at­tend the in­au­gu­ral Pa­cific Fair Magic Mil­lions Polo tour­na­ment next Sun­day at the Spit on Gold Coast’s Main Beach. She will at­tend sev­eral other events dur­ing the car­ni­val, cul­mi­nat­ing in Aus­tralia’s only $10 mil­lion race­day on Satur­day, Jan­uary 14.

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