Racing New South Wales yesterday banned the champion jockey from saddling up in the state.
Now Michelle Payne is riding high after taking out two Women in Sport Awards – for the Outstanding Woman in Sport, and a people’s choice award.
— Women's Health Aus (@womenshealthaus) October 5, 2016
She dominated in an Olympic year when most of the other winners lit up our screens from Rio.
Gold medallist, rowing world champion Kim Brennan, won the top Sportswoman of the Year gong.
Australia’s inaugural women’s Olympic rugby seven’s champions took out the Team of the Year.
Pentathlon winner Chloe Esposito won the Moment of the Year award.
But Payne – who declared after her 2015 Melbourne Cup victory that everyone else could get stuffed “because women can do anything and we can beat the world” – won public hearts and also the readers’ choice Moment of the Year.
Payne has had a turbulent time since her famous win and post–match comments. She had a horrific fall in May but was then furious to learn in August that she wouldn’t be riding Cup winner Prince of Penzance at Caulfield.
She now holds a dual jockey/trainer licence in Victoria – but that’s seen her now banned in NSW, with state rules there saying anyone in that situation coming in from outside their jurisdiction can only operate as a trainer.
Not allowed to ride in NSW because of dual license. Are they serious?
— Michelle Payne (@mj_payne) October 4, 2016
Payne reacted with disbelief, but Racing NSW claims there is a conflict of interest in letting riders into the jockeys’ room when they are also trainers.
Last night Australian Womensport and Recreation Association president Carol Fox said Payne’s inspirational Cup win on Prince of Penzance seemed to ignite a new golden era for Australian women’s sport.
“Michelle is a gracious and eloquent role model and a national treasure,” Fox said.
Other winners included world and Olympic cycling champion Anna Meares and seven-time world surfing champion Layne Beachley.
The Women in Sport Award winners:
Hall of Fame – Layne Beachley AO, former professional surfer
Sportswoman of the Year – Kim Brennan, rowing
Moment of the Year – Chloe Esposito, pentathlon
Moment of the Year (Readers’ Choice) – Michelle Payne, horseracing
A-Team of the Year – Australian women’s sevens, rugby
Leadership Legend – Anna Meares, cycling
Fair Fighter – Liesl Tesch, Paralympic sailing and Ruan Sims, rugby
Local Heroine – Josie Janz-Dawson, netball
One to Watch – Ella Nelson, athletics
Person of Sporting Influence – Moya Dodd, FFA and FIFA official
Australian Federal Government Award for Outstanding Woman in Sport – Michelle Payne.