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El of a birthday gift for female jockey Michelle Payne

Posted on 30/09 by Pom de Turf

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Jockey Michelle Payne will be part of a big step forward for horse racing on Saturday when she pilots El Segundo in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington.

Payne was signed up to ride the 2007 Cox Plate winner after trainer Colin Little had to go hunting for a replacement due to a suspension handed to Luke Nolen.

While Australian horse racing has made significant progress in recent years, female jockeys still find similar opportunities hard to come by.

Quoted by AAP, Little said on Tuesday: "She actually won his maiden on him at his second run in a race and she's always helping me out by riding a bit of work for me so really it wasn't a terribly hard decision and it's her birthday today."

Saturday's race is a group 1 $500,000 run over 2000m which also features star gelding Vigor, plus Maldivian, another former Cox Plate winner.

Vigor drew the inside gate, while El Segundo drew nine and Maldivian will go from ten.

El Segundo is currently a 11.00 shot for the Cox Plate with Centrebet, while Vigor is the current Caulfield Cup favourite with the same bookmaker on 6.00.

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