Yes, doors she thought she'd never breach have opened for Michelle Payne since winning the A$6 million Melbourne Cup on Prince Of Penzance.

But it's the footpaths, not the doors, that give her the most trouble.

"It takes so much longer to go anywhere now, because I'm always having to stop on the footpath to give autographs and photo opportunities," Payne told the Herald from Melbourne.

She is hoping that changes when she comes to New Zealand to ride in the next two weeks. The 30-year-old will ride Ringo in the $200,000 Thorndon Mile at Trentham on Saturday week and will be riding on Karaka Million night at Ellerslie the following day.


Then Payne will be guest of honour at New Zealand Bloodstock's Karaka Yearling sale to watch Prince Of Penzance's little brother go through the auction ring.

Most New Zealanders haven't quite grasped how much the Melbourne Cup - and winning it - means to Australians. It's not just the world's richest handicap, it is part of every Australian's heritage.

But it doesn't open every door, as Michelle Payne found out on Saturday night. Payne rode at the Magic Millions A$10 million raceday at the Gold Coast on Saturday afternoon, winning the A$967,500 Magic Million Sprint on Husson Eagle for her older brother Paddy, one of Australia's finest former jockeys and now an emerging top trainer in Melbourne.

"Huge thrill riding a million-dollar winner for Paddy," she says. But hours later she was refused entry to a Gold Coast night club.

"I was in a rush when I got back from the races and forgot to take my jockeys' licence for identification and proof of age. They wouldn't let me in. I'm pretty sure they knew who I was, but they said no identification was a strict rule and they wouldn't break it."

The best aftermath of winning the Melbourne Cup?

"Meeting Roger Federer."

The worst: "Dealing with the sudden change of lifestyle. I've always been quite a private person, I like keeping a low profile and staying beneath the radar, but I've had to accept that life for me will never be the same again.

"I have had to totally change my approach to life."

Only someone of Payne's perceived innocence could possibly get away unscathed from telling an industry to "get stuffed" down live national television for its chauvinism. Perhaps helping was the 30-year-old face that at times looks more like 15.

No, she has not had much negative feedback from those spur-of-the-moment words. But then Melbourne Cup-winning jockeys could dash down Burke St naked without adverse comments.

Payne says she has never been envious of the much greater opportunities women jockeys have traditionally received in New Zealand compared to Australia. Here, Lisa Allpress and Danielle Johnson make weekly, sometimes daily, headlines.

"This is a tough industry, if anyone digs deep and makes it, male or female, I say good on them. I'm not the jealous type."

But it is undeniable Payne had to start her career from a much lower level of acceptance than the likes of Allpress and Johnson.

In the late 1970s when women were just getting going in New Zealand racing, Alison Davies went from here to ride in Perth, women jockeys being virtually unheard of in WA.

Before her first raceday ride, a Perth journalist wrote: "Yes, women should be able to attend race meetings, but only to hold the umbrella over their husband's head while he has a bet."

Ringo's owner Bill Gleeson is delighted to have engaged Payne for the horse's group one attempt.

"Essentially we wanted a decent jockey who could ride 55kg in a decent saddle and we couldn't get one here. We tried to get one of the boys from Sydney, but most of them couldn't get off their engagements there on Saturday week.

"We were thrilled when we discovered Michelle would be available. The
bonus is she's ridden here before."

Payne has ridden here a couple of times.

"I remember winning at Ellerslie on Telepathic for Donna Logan."

The Payne family originated from Taranaki when father Paddy relocated to Victoria in the 1970s. Last year was a vintage time for the whole family.

"Dad had a triple bypass and he's coming along fine now."

Catching up with relatives will be high on Payne's agenda when she gets to New Zealand.

Even if it's on the footpath.