GAI’S MY HERO
‘An inspiration to women in racing’
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.