Michelle Payne believes Jamie Kah’s Melbourne Cup opportunity is “so special and important for the sport” and feels the rising star is already walking in Payne’s footsteps by inspiring the next generation of female riders.
Payne famously became the first female rider to win the Melbourne Cup, on Prince Of Penzance in 2015, and now Kah next month gets the chance to become the second when she rides fan favourite Prince Of Arran.
“Jamie is important for the next generation of female riders because I think it’s nice for people to see that beautiful balance and poise and how effective it can be – it is so important and so special for me to see going forward and it’s important for our sport,” Payne said.
“Jamie is all about going out and riding her horse and backing herself to do well – it’s been great to watch and now she has this Melbourne Cup ride.
“It is great she has that opportunity and for other female riders coming through, I think it will really open more doors for the next generation.
Michelle Payne after riding Prince of Penzance to win the 2015 Melbourne Cup. Picture: Getty Images.Source:Getty Images
“Clare Lindop had some nice rides in the Melbourne Cup before me and rode them absolutely superbly but they just weren’t good enough on the day – luckily enough mine was.
“It’s just about getting the opportunity and making the most of it.
“The more opportunities female jockeys can get in our great race the better and to have a live chance in the race like Jamie has is so good to see.”
Payne and Kah are great mates and have already forged a special bond, holidaying together in America last year with fellow female hoop, the now retired Nikita Beriman.
Kah has made giant strides since taking the leap to move from South Australia to Victoria, a career switch which has been a stunning success.
Kah has ridden two Group 1 winners since arriving in Victoria and currently sits on top of this season’s Melbourne jockeys’ premiership, with the great Damien Oliver four wins adrift of her in second spot.
Payne has long admired Kah’s riding style – and got in her ear about making the bold move to Victoria – but she says she can take no personal credit for Kah’s development.
“I just think she has been a beautiful rider for a long time,” Payne said.
“She will just ride her horse, right from the start as soon as the gates open she just jumps out and she is so balanced and she is at one with her horse.
Jamie Kah with actor Rachel Griffiths and Michelle Payne and Linda Meech. Pic: Michael KleinSource:News Corp Australia
“She has got beautiful hands as a result of that and is beautiful to watch in motion with her horse.
“She is patient, she has got poise, she is really balanced – she has got the whole package.
“I think now she is a bit older and a bit more furnished she has got the strength at the end of her races as well.
“All I have said to her on the way is how to present yourself at the races and basic general stuff but as a rider she tries really hard and she has done it all by herself.
“She had a stint over in Victoria as an apprentice but I remember saying to her when she went back to Adelaide she should come back when she had won a couple of Adelaide premierships.
“I told her she was absolutely flying in Adelaide and she should come over to Victoria, but she was a bit hesitant at first.”
They made a movie out of Payne’s famous Melbourne Cup win – so does she have any advice for Kah on how to deal with the pressure leading up to the Melbourne Cup?
Kah’s Cup experience could be very different to Payne’s given Prince Of Penzance was a $101 chance whereas Prince Of Arran is a two-time Melbourne Cup placegetter who is currently rated a $26 chance on TAB.
Regardless, Payne says Kah will be able to deal with whatever the Cup lead-up throws up.
Michelle Payne at The Everest Carnival Fashion Lunch in Sydney. Picture: Richard DobsonSource:News Corp Australia
“It’s tough – she has got a lot of pressure on her, everyone is watching her and you have got to work so hard in this industry to make it and with that pressure you have to handle it,” Payne said.
“But she is dealing with pressure now, she is on horses in Group 1s that have a chance and I found as a jockey over the years you just learned to deal with it.
“She will be getting used to that pressure and now she will be fine in the Cup as she is a pretty cool rider.”
As for Kah, the in-demand jockey revealed she had another Melbourne Cup option as well but chose to go with the Charlie Fellowes-trained Prince Of Arran.
“I had a couple of options but he was just the way to go in the end. He’s been here before, he’s proven and I’m really excited to be riding him,” Kah said.
“He’s going to keep his normal rider on to do the (trackwork) gallops but he (Fellowes) said I can pop down and do a few days slow work with him and get used to him and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Originally published asMichelle Payne: Kah can be next Cup inspiration
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