WHEN you are from the Mallee town of Berriwillock you sort of know what Darren Weir means when he says: “It’s a great story isn’t it, strapped by a kid with Down Syndrome ridden by a sheila.”
The kid is Stevie Payne; the sheila is Stevie’s sister Michelle, the first female jockey to win the G1 Emirates Melbourne Cup, a race that has been part of Melbourne since Archer took the first in1861.
The jockey and strappers own an investment property together next to Ballarat racecourse and have called it “Nottingham.” It is where Michelle will train when she takes her co-jockey-trainer licence in the next year so, “I can’t get taken off them.”
Stevie and Michelle are the youngest of the fabled 10 Payne racing siblings of Paddy and the mother Michelle never knew, Mary.
Michelle used to sleep in her father’s bed holding his hand so she’d be taken to track work in the morning; such was her passion for horses.
Stevie, who delighted the room and the massive TV audience when drawing the inside barrier on Saturday night for Prince of Penzance, has been with Weir for eight years. He rides a slick yellow motorcycle from his home to the stables. Some suggest he has no licence for it.
Stevie told Michelle not to get beaten on Prince of Penzance because he had $10 each-way on it. “What price was it,” he asked. Some bonus is there for Stevie: Prince Of Penzance is ju...