Payne accepts four-week riding ban

Jockey Michelle Payne

Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Michelle Payne accepted "full responsibility" after she was suspended from riding for four weeks following a positive test for a banned substance.

Payne was found guilty by stewards at a Racing Victoria hearing of having traces of Phentermine, a prohibited appetite suppressant, in her system when she delivered a urine sample at a meeting at Swan Hill racecourse on June 11.

The 31-year-old will be free to ride at the Shergar Cup meeting at Ascot in August as her suspension, which had been imposed on June 23, and will expire on July 21.

Payne said in a statement: "I would like to make it clear that I take full responsibility for what has happened.

"The onus is 100 per cent with me as a rider to know what I am taking and the rules around it – regardless of whether it has been prescribed to me or not.

"I regret not seeking more guidance, and making certain that any treatment would lead to a breach of the rules and why we are here – I wasn't thorough and that is completely my fault.

"My sincere apologies to everyone that this has happened in the manner that it has.

"I accept the stewards' decision and appreciate its keeping with other penalties for riders in breach of this rule.

"Going forward, I'm very much looking forward to finding a solution in working with my surgeon.

"I look forward to working hard and being in great shape on my return to racing."

Payne has only just returned to Australia after she rode Kaspersky into fifth place in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot last Tuesday.

She made history in 2015 when she became the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup with 100-1 chance Prince Of Penzance.

Stewards at the Racing Victoria inquiry heard that Payne was prescribed the drug to help "treat gastrointestinal symptoms" after she suffered a bad fall in May 2016 which required pancreatic surgery.


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