Life as I know It – The Updated Edition – by Michelle Payne and John Harms

Michelle Payne – Life Story

Growing up on a farm at Miners Rest, near Ballarat in Central Victoria, Michelle is the youngest daughter of the ten children of Paddy and Mary Payne. Tragically, Michelle’s mother Mary died in a motor vehicle accident when Michelle was only six months old, leaving Paddy to raise the children as a single father.

A racing family, a career in the saddle always beckoned for Michelle and she followed seven of her brothers and sisters when she rode in her first competitive race at the age of 15. Riding at Ballarat, Michelle saluted in her first race aboard Reigning – a horse trained by her father.

Michelle’s career hasn’t been without challenges. In March 2004 at the age of just 18, Michelle was pulling up her mount Vladivostok, having just finished 11th in the Torbek Handicap at Sandown. 100 metres past the winning post the horse fell suddenly, sending Michelle head first into the turf. The incident left Michelle with a fractured skull and bruising to her brain.

Michelle suffered two further serious falls in 2012 and in May 2016, just months after winning the 2015 Melbourne Cup, Michelle suffered yet another life threatening fall at Mildura. This time Michelle required pancreatic surgery and a long recovery, before yet another inspiring comeback to racing.

Michelle’s affinity for horses has seen her ride over 700 winners, including five Group One’s –

  • Toorak Handicap (2009) – Allez Wonder
  • Produce Stakes (2010) – Yosei
  • The Thousand Guineas (2010) – Yosei
  • Tattersall’s Tiara (2011) – Yosei
  • Melbourne Cup (2015) – Prince of Penzance

In 2016, Michelle and her brother Stephen were given the honour of being named Queen and King of Moomba.


Appearances and Speaking

Michelle Payne is a sportswoman whose remarkable story has raised Australia’s spirits.

The first ever female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup – she made ‘the race that stops a nation’ a race that inspired one. Her graciousness in the face of untold triumph and tragedy is now a beacon for many people.


2015 Melbourne Cup

Prince of Penzance, a six year old gelding trained by Darren Weir entered the 2015 Melbourne Cup as a rank outsider with odds of 100/1.

As the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup in the 150 years of the famous race, Michelle said afterwards – “I want to say to everyone else, get stuffed, because they think women aren’t strong enough but we just beat the world.


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About Nottingham Farm

Nottingham Farm is the training operation of Melbourne Cup winning jockey, Michelle Payne.

Based out of Ballarat, Nottingham Farm consists of day yards and boxes and is very much a New Zealand style set up. Horses need clean air and a tranquil environment in order to absorb the training is set down for each individual horse.

Michelle Payne: The Film

Australian actress Rachel Griffiths is making a film about Michelle Payne,
saying her story was the “classic tale of the underdog”.

The Muriel’s Wedding star said she was inspired by the jockey’s record win and wanted to explore the source of her
confidence, faith and motivation.


News / Media

The woman who stopped the nation

Her life is being made into a film, and next month she’ll be honoured with a prestigious award overseas. But it’s the less glamorous side of the horse racing that spurs on Michelle Payne READ MORE...