The first female winner of the Melbourne Cup, one of the world’s most famous horse races, is said to be embarrassed and disappointed after failing a drugs test. Michelle Payne admitted taking a banned substance and has been suspended for 4 weeks.
A stewards’ inquiry was held after the urine sample tested positive for the appetite suppressant phentermine, which is banned under Australian racing rules. The jockey admitted being prescribed the drug, but said she did not check whether it breached anti-doping rules.
Last year, the jockey was hospitalised for a torn pancreas following a nasty fall. Since the injury she has been struggling with her diet. It is thought that she was prescribed the appetite suppressant after seeking medical advice.
“I would like to make it clear that I take full responsibility for what has happened today,” Payne told reporters following the inquiry. “The onus is 100% 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.”
Payne shot to international fame when she became the first woman to win the Melbourne Cup in 2015. She finished fifth on her Royal Ascot debut last month aboard Kapersky in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes. Her ban will be lifted in time for the Shergar Cup at the racecourse on 12th August.