Victorian Jockey and horse trainer Michelle Payne has been banned for a month after testing positive to a banned appetite suppressant.
"I am embarrassed and I apologise for what I have done," the 31-year-old told a stewards' inquiry at Flemington on Thursday.
Payne famously won the 2015 Melbourne Cup aboard 100-1 outsider Prince of Penzance, and has since gone on to become one of Australian racing's most popular and best-recognised figures.
She was stood down from riding in both races and trackwork after a positive reading to the banned appetite suppressant Phentermine. The reading came from a urine sample at the Swan Hill Cup meeting at Swan Hill in north-west Victoria on June 11. Phentermine is banned under Australian Rule of Racing 81B.
Payne became just the second jockey to win "The Don" Award for sportsmanship and inspiration at the Sport Australia Hall of Fame Awards in 2016, but she has also had one or two skirmishes with racing officialdom of late.
She was fined $1,500 for a tweet about the state of the Flemington track in March of last year -- despite it having some obvious issues.
Payne also has had some bad luck on the track in recent times. She was thrown from a horse last year in a frightening fall at Mildura (it's at around 25 seconds in the video below, far right of screen).
On Wednesday, Des O'Keeffe, chairman of the Australian Jockey Association, said Payne had been prescribed Phentermine by her doctor after that awful fall, in which she split her pancreas and required surgery.
"Her GP has in good faith prescribed her this as something that would assist her," O'Keeffe said on Wednesday.
"Unfortunately Michelle's onus is to be aware of what she can and can't take and that should've been provided to the doctor who then may have come up with an alternative treatment that didn't breach the rule once tested."
Payne is in the extremely unusual position of holding a license to be able both to train and ride horses. The month-long riding ban will not affect her training operations.
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