Michelle Payne Fined For Calling Horse Owner 'Pig' On Twitter
Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Michelle Payne has been fined $1000 for calling horse owner Brae Sokolski "a pig" on Twitter.
The tweet from Payne's official Twitter account came after Linda Meech was replaced by Mark Zahra on Victoria Derby contender Thought Of That.
It appears Payne fired up at the prominent horse owner and businessman Sokolski over the decision.
But the tweet, which was quickly deleted, has backfired with Racing Victoria stewards confirming they had fined Payne $1000 over it.
"The Stewards found Ms Payne’s comments to be offensive towards Mr Sokolski when she stated ‘not for the public to decide but the public can recognise you as a pig’," a Racing Victoria judgement read on Wednesday.
"After considering Ms Payne’s guilty plea and her prior offences, Stewards have issued her a fine of $1000."
The statement said Payne has pled guilty to Australian Rule of Rule Racing 228 (d) which states:
"A person must not engage in publishing or posting on any social media platform or channel any material, content or comment that is obscene, offensive, defamatory, racist, threatening, harassing, discriminatory or abusive to or about any other person involved in the racing industry."
Why the upset?
Linda Meech is no ordinary jockey. In August, she became the first female rider to win the Victorian Jockeys Premiership.
It was an incredible achievement. Not a single jockey in Australia's premier racing state rode more than her 139 winners last season -- and Meech missed two months out with a broken collarbone too.
Meech had ridden Thought Of That in the colt's previous three starts, including its strong win in Caulfield Classic at its most recent start.
When a jockey has a winning association with a horse, owners almost always stick with the jockey. That's how the game works.
But Brae Sokolski announced on Tuesday that Mark Zahra would ride Thought Of That in The Derby, due to the rider's "superior record" as a Group One-winning jockey.
In other words, Zahra has experience in more big races than Meech.
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