Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle Payne is free of pain and getting fitter as she weighs up a return to race riding.
Payne has recovered from pancreatic surgery after a race fall and says the pain in her abdomen has disappeared, giving her confidence about returning to race riding.
"I definitely am feeling like a comeback is more on the cards than anything else," Payne said at Thursday's Melbourne spring racing carnival launch.
Payne has not ridden competitively since May when she was seriously injured in the fall at Mildura but has been riding trackwork for about two months.
"I'm totally pain free and getting fitter and really excited for the spring carnival ahead," Payne told AAP.
The first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup says she has not yet made a decision about a comeback.
"But I'm definitely getting a lot closer I feel."
Payne was last week granted a dual trainer/jockey licence in Victoria, where she has a farm in Ballarat.
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