Racing Victoria has suspended Australian jockey Michelle Payne from competing for four weeks after she failed a drugs test.

Michelle Payne Tested Positive for Appetite Suppressant Phentermine

Payne — the only female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup in its 155-year history — tested positive for the appetite suppressant Phentermine.

The 31-year-old ingested the substance upon returning from a life-threatening fall that led to a pancreas injury.

A medical letter stated Payne’s split pancreas led her to often become hungry, and that Phentermine helped control her appetite.

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Payne, who won the Melbourne Cup in November 2015, told the inquiry she knew the medication was prohibited on race days but believed it was permitted during track-work. The inquiry claimed the jockey had been consuming the drug on and off for two months.

Payne guided her horse Kaspersky to fifth place in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 20, and failed her drugs test nine days earlier at the Swan Hill Cup meeting in Victoria.

The jockey is banned until July 21, and is set to return to competitive racing at Ascot for the Sherger Cup on August 12. However, she must first provide a clear urine sample.

Payne told CNN last week that she was hoping to soon retire from racing and begin working as a trainer. The Australian said she hopes to win the Melbourne Open again, but this time as a coach.

“The training is something I’ve been planning towards a long time now,” she said. “I’m preparing for the riding to come to an end.”

“It will be hard to say goodbye but I’ve had a number of bad injuries and obviously one day I want to have a family of my own,” Payne continued. “But it’s a long-range plan so I’m not stopping just yet.”

The Victoria native added she takes “full responsibility” for her actions, and also said she was “disappointed and embarrassed.”

“The onus is 100% with me as a rider to know what I am taking and the rules around it regardless of whether it has been prescribed to me or not,” she said after Thursday’s inquiry. “Going forward, I’m very much looking forward to finding a solution in working with my surgeon.”

Payne is not the first high-profile Australian jockey to be suspended for taking an appetite suppressant. Hugh Bowman, one of the country’s top riders and pilot of the star horse Winx – was banned for six weeks in 2003, and Damien Oliver, the three-times Melbourne Cup winner, was banned for four weeks in 2009. Oliver had his suspension rescinded.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 26: Michelle Payne riding Lucky Liberty wins Race 6, the Christmas Stakes during Melbourne Racing at Caulfield Racecourse on December 26, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)

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