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Hopes high that Michelle Payne will be fit to ride in Ascot’s Shergar Cup

‘I’m proud to be representing female jockeys,’ says the Australian who was signed up after becoming the first woman to ride the Melbourne Cup winner

Michelle Payne was signed up to ride in the Shergar Cup within two days of the career-making moment in November 2015 when she won the Melbourne Cup on a 100-1 shot and told racing’s chauvinists to get stuffed. “I was hoping you’d ask,” was her response when approached by an Ascot official. “It’s a real honour.”

So it is sad to report that, with Payne mere hours from finally making her Cup appearance, relations between her and the Queen’s track have cooled. Jet-lagged and feeling sick, the 31-year-old jockey left early from a media event on Thursday, pausing only to offer some spiky language to an Ascot staffer who tried to detain her, according to one report.

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