Miner's Miss (left) finished third behind Aristia (middle) and Greysful Glamour (Image: Racing Photos)
Michelle Payne went excitingly close to another Flemington fairytale aboard her father's unheralded three-year-old Miner's Miss in Thursday's $1 million Kennedy Oaks (2500m).
The 100-1 outsider settled in the box seat and rallied courageously over the final 400m to finish third, only a length-and-a-half off winning filly Aristia and less than a length behind runner-up Greysful Glamour.
For the Melbourne Cup-winning jockey, the delight at notching a Group 1 placing for her father, veteran Ballarat horseman Paddy Payne, ranked as one the highlights of her career.
"It feels just as good (as winning)," Michelle Payne said.
"She had a lovely run from the barrier and she travelled nicely but they got her off the bit when they quickened up coming into the straight.
"But once she balanced up and her staying power kicked in, she was so strong.
"I was hoping they'd weaken and we might run them down but it was a great run to finish third."
The 82-year-old patriarch of the famous Payne dynasty had all but retired in 2011 and saddled up his first winner after a seven-year sabbatical when Miner's Miss broke her maiden at Avoca last month.
He and his daughter, now a dual-licensee herself, purchased the Rebel Raider filly for $10,500 at the Inglis Great Southern Weanling Sale in 2016 in the hope of unearthing a talented stayer.
And the younger Payne has no doubts that, with a spell and another six months of maturity under her belt, Miner's Miss can measure up in feature three-year-old races in the autumn.
"Dad and I picked this filly out together as a weanling," she said.
"We stood there for three days trying to pick a couple of nice fillies and it took us until the third day to find one we liked for the right price.
"She's such a strong, staying filly.
"I think a break will do her good because shells had a couple of niggling issues so hopefully she comes back well and we might be able take her to Sydney."