Michelle Payne's family will leave a decision on retirement to the jockey who is recovering from abdominal surgery in a Melbourne hospital after a horrific race fall.

Doctors at Alfred Hospital are concerned about her recovery.

But her brother, Patrick, admits it might be hard to convince the Melbourne Cup winner to give away her career.

"We tried to talk her out of it a while ago," Payne told Sky Sports Radio. "We've encouraged her to retire but it's her decision. She is a pig-headed little bugger."


Payne's recovery from a split pancreas will take months and doctors are worried they may have to operate again if it does not knit together.

The 30-year-old became the first woman to win the Melbourne Cup in November aboard 100-1 shot Prince Of Penzance.

Michelle is the youngest of 10 children, many of whom, including Patrick, have been jockeys.

Now a trainer, Patrick Payne said his sister had torn her pancreas after she fell at Mildura a week ago.

She came off one of his horses, Dutch Courage, with initial indications the horse stood on her.

"If the pancreas cannot reknit surgeons will probably have to go back and operate again and there is a chance that a small part of the pancreas may have to be removed," Patrick Payne said.

"The liver and the spleen and all around that area are fine but now we must just wait and see.

"She is well aware of the dangers but she loves doing it [riding].

"We tried to talk her out of it a while ago and last time she said she would regret it but I'm not sure about her thoughts now," he said.

"Let's hope she can get well soon overcome her pancreas problem and then she can make a call on what she wants to do."

Her family tried to convince her to give up riding after a March 2004 fall that left her with a fractured skull and bruising to the brain.