Glamour French jockey floors punters on $81 chance

Glamour French jockey floors punters on  chance

French jockey Mickaelle Michel floored punters but ticked off another milestone in her desire to become a world class jockey with her maiden Australian win at Flemington on Saturday.

Michel drove the $81 outside Southern Fire along the inside to win the Tour d’ Horse Trophy (1200m) for trainer Stephen Brown.

Michel only arrived in Australia last week to continue a career that has taken her to places such as Japan, Saudi Arabia and the US to chase her dream to emulate the likes of Ryan Moore and Frankie Dettori as a top international rider.

Australia is the 13th country in which she has ridden and the eighth in which Michel has booted home a winner.

Mickaelle Michel has struck early in her Australian riding stint winning on Southern Fire at Flemington. Picture: Vince Caligiuri–Getty Images

Michel was thrilled to have ridden a winner at the famous Flemington circuit.

“It’s just the next step to where I want to go, to win the biggest races in the world,” Michel said.

“I’m very happy. I’ve only been here one week.

“That was my wish but my wish and what can be true is different.”


Michel had her first ride in Australia at last Saturday’s Flemington meeting.

She said spending the week learning about Australian racing and riding work at both Flemington and Bendigo, where her sponsoring trainer Brent Stanley is based, sharply increased her knowledge of the local scene.

Tour d' Horse Trophy

Southern Fire ridden by Mickaelle Michel (USA) wins the Tour d’ Horse Trophy at Flemington. Picture: Brett Holburt–Racing Photos via Getty Images

Michel added she had not ridden in a straight-track race since her days in France, where she was a champion apprentice before embarking on her travels.

“I didn’t ride in one (a straight race) for a long time because I left France for a few years. It’s just perfect,” Michel said.

“I just have to remember my European experience, which was from a few years earlier and I’ve been watching the races all day to learn the jockeys, the horses and the races

“I’ve been working horses in the morning so to feel and learn more about Australian races, it was important and helped me win today.

“I’m happy we can show what we can do, the horse and me.”

Michel travelled to Australia with her husband, former jockey Frederic Spanu, on a six-month visa.

Michel said she wanted to stay longer, already beginning the process to extend her visa.

“I will be here for six months but I hope to stay longer. I will work on it with the lawyer and we will see,” Michel said.

“I think it’s important to stay in the country as long as you can to learn.

“I just want to enjoy it as much as I can.”

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