It’s doesn’t have the prestige of the Melbourne Cup but the Coleraine Cup is now an important part of Michelle Payne’s career.
Payne rode Birds Of Tokyo to win Sunday’s $30,000 Victorian country feature to claim her first win since she suffered career-threatening injuries in a race fall in May.
The winner of the 2015 Melbourne Cup on Prince Of Penzance, Payne decided to make a comeback earlier this month and the Luke Oliver-trained Birds Of Tokyo was her sixth ride since that decision.
She was due to ride the mare in Adelaide eight days ago but Birds Of Tokyo had to be scratched when she pulled a shoe a couple of hours before the race.
Payne has also been granted a dual trainer/jockey licence which means she can ride the horses in her own stable.
Joining her team this week is Queen Of Zealand, a stakes-placed filly from New Zealand.
A possible Oaks contender, Queen Of Zealand ran third in a Listed 1200m-race at Wanganui earlier this month in which La Luna Rossa ran second.
La Luna Rossa enhanced that form when she finished second in Saturday’s Thousand Guineas Prelude at Caulfield.