Melbourne Cup: Star jockey Michelle Payne fit again after horror fall

Story highlights

Payne was first female winner of Melbourne Cup a year ago

She will miss the race that stops a nation

CNN  — 

Michelle Payne knows how crazy it sounds to be grateful for a fall – but she’s grateful nonetheless.

The choice of word seems odd when you consider that she had her stomach trampled on by half a ton of racehorse just five months ago.

Three-quarters of her pancreas was severed. The surgeon saved it after cutting through layers of muscle to reach it, her liver was lacerated; and for days she recalls thinking: “I can’t go on.”

But last year’s Melbourne Cup winner told CNN: “It was a blessing in disguise as it breathed life back in. There was no media near me, I got to get back on top of things mentally.

“So in some ways it was a good thing, in some ways I’m grateful. It just may have been an extreme way to get to that point!”