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Ciaron Maher’s racing manager Ben Connolly has confirmed jockey Michelle Payne will be considered for the 2016 Breedes’ Cup ride aboard the stable’s star mare Azkadellia in America this November.
Payne rode last year’s 101/1 upset Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance to victory in the Flemington classic for trainer Darren Weir becoming the first female hoop to take out the world’s richest handicap.
After suffering a nasty race fall in Mildura in May, Payne underwent subsequent pancreatic surgery and connections of Prince Of Penzance ruled her out of reuniting with the galloper first-up on August 27 for his return in the $500,000 Group 1 Memsie Stakes (2000m).
The chance of Payne getting called up for a shot at back-to-back wins in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) on Tuesday November 1 on Prince Of Penzance also took a blow with that decision.
Despite retirement from the saddle being a realistic option for the champion hoop, Payne has expressed her desire to ride on for another season.
She could also now be a livewire hope of hopping on the back of another genuine spring contender this season with the report from Connolly this week.
Connolly confirmed the stable had Payne in mind for the mount on Azkadellia with Maher and co. considering the invitation to contest the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, California, in the same week as the Melbourne Cup down under.
“Michelle potentially will ride her,” he told Racing Victoria.
“If she’s fit, well, in-form around that Melbourne Cup time, then we’ll definitely consider her.
“If Azkadellia does go to America, we’d love to have her on.
“It’s just an opportunity for Michelle, and gives her a goal to work towards.”
Maher’s Shinko King mare hasn’t been seen since her second behind Miss Cover Girl at Eagle Farm on June 25 in the Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m).
The now five-year-old enjoyed an elite level win earlier in the season with success in Sydney’s Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Randwick in April.
That followed nice Group 1 placings in the Coolmore Classic when second to Peeping and the Doncaster Mile for a third behind Chris Waller’s reigning Cox Plate winner Winx.
Connections are still laying out spring plans for Azkadellia that could include a first-up run at Caulfield Racecourse in the $500,000 Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) on September 24 – a race last won by a mare six years back with Response (2010).
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