The 2015 Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Michelle Payne has been booked to ride in the Wellington Cup meeting at Trentham later this month.
Payne became the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup after riding New Zealand-bred Prince of Penzance to victory at Flemington Raceway in November last year.
The 30-year-old has been booked to ride Ringo in the Group One Thorndon Mile at Trentham on 23 January and will also ride at the Karaka Million meeting at the Ellerslie racecourse the next day.
Payne will also attend the annual NZB National Yearling Sales Series which commences on 25 January.
Auckland Racing Club chief executive Cameron George said Payne's first time racing at the Karaka Million Twilight Meeting was "not to be missed.
"We're thrilled to host Michelle at Ellerslie. The Karaka Million is the country's premier race day so having her outstanding skill and experience at Ellerslie is a very exciting prospect," George said.
Although born and bred in central Victoria, Australia, New Zealand holds a special place in Payne's heart. Her father was born in Taranaki, as were eight of her nine siblings. Her Melbourne Cup winning horse, Prince of Penzance, was also bred in the heart of the Waikato.
Payne, who considers herself "part Kiwi", said she was looking forward to seeing everything the New Zealand throroughbred horse industry had to offer.
"The quality of horse racing and breeding in New Zealand is second to none so it'll be great to see it first-hand. It will be my first time racing at the Karaka Million Twilight Meeting, which I have heard is an incredible day with an electric atmosphere and great party."
Payne will also attend the annual NZB Yearling Sales where her Melbourne Cup success began. Prince of Penzance was bought at the same sales in 2011. Payne will be on site when Prince of Penzance's full brother goes through the sale ring.
"I'm looking forward to experiencing one of the highest quality sales in the world and checking out the top quality horses coming through, particularly the brother to Prince of Penzance - he is a gorgeous-looking colt," she said.