Herald Sun: Michelle Payne takes out ‘The Don’ award for nation’s most inspiring sporting performance

TURF darling Michelle Payne’s history-making Melbourne Cup win of 2015 has been recognised as the nation’s most inspiring sporting performance of the past year when she won the prestigious “Don” award.

In a gathering of Australia’s sporting stars at Crown Palladium, Payne took out The Don, awarded by the Sport Australia Hall Of Fame, for her heroics aboard Prince of Penzance.

Payne become the first female jockey to win the famous race, which was first run in 1861.

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Payne said she felt overwhelmed after receiving her award in front of Australia’s sporting royalty.

“To be honest I could not even prepare a speech for tonight because I felt as though I didn’t deserve it among the company that I was in,’’ Payne said.

“I can’t believe it, I’m absolutely overwhelmed with winning the award and it’s just an honour to be here.

But Payne’s journey since has not been a smooth one, with a heavy race fall in Mildura in May providing the “toughest challenge” of her life.

“It’s definitely changed my views on life since winning the Melbourne Cup and then going through what I did with the fall,’’ Payne said.

“I’ve always been grateful for any luck I’ve had but I think now, more than ever, I am just happy to be healthy and doing what I love. Anything from now is a bonus.”

Payne said she didn’t have a confirmed ride for next month’s Melbourne Cup — “not at this stage but you never lose hope”.

At Thursday night’s awards gala, seven sporting greats were inducted as members into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame — Jack Newton (golf), Emma Carney (triathlon), Kristy Ellis (surf life saving), Sharelle McMahon (netball), Malcolm Page (sailing), Libby Trickett (swimming) and Harry Wells (rugby league). “Father” of the Australian Institute of Sport, Bob Ellicott, was also inducted.

Western Bulldogs premiership coach Luke Beveridge received the ‘Spirit of Sport’ award for his AFL Grand Final gesture when he presented injured captain Bob Murphy with his premiership medallion on stage after the match.

It was just the sixth time since its inception in 2005 that the ‘Spirit of Sport” award had been presented.


PRESS RELEASE : JASONGRECH + IBM release World-first cognitive inspired collection at Melbourne Spring Fashion Week

Iconic Melbourne Couture designer, Jason Grech and IBM are turning fashion on its head launching an Australian-first couture collection developed using technology to understand the latest and next season's runway trends. The Cognitive Couture,made up of 12 couture dresses, debuted last night at Melbourne Spring Fashion Week (MSFW).


JASONGRECH Cognitive Couture is a combination of inspiration and a unique design process. IBM provides analysis into trend, audience and fashion possibilities that can be applied to design and decision making. Working with IBM’s cognitive technology, known as Watson, Jason has been empowered to take an entirely new creative approach to his designs - to use insights that take a data driven approach to design and decision making.


JASONGRECH collaborated with IBM to produce The Cognitive Couture collection. With the ability to analyse ten years of runway fashion images and real time social buzz, Watson’s visual recognition technology not only analysed but predicted trends in colour. “Working with IBM to create the collection allowed us to work with a colour palette we would not have considered before. This is the first time I have worked with pastels for my collection”

Jason Grech’s love of architecture permeates his work - “Architecture is amazing. I look at the lines, the curves, the corners, the texture, every detail.”Using an IBM application infused with Watson cognitive technology, Jason and his team created his couture collection by matching architectural images with fashion images, providing the inspiration for new designs.

Using a combination of IBM analytics and cognitive technologies, designers can gain new insights and inspiration with access to 100,000s of social media images in an instant. IBM helped designer, Jason Grech and his team to explore and evaluate trends during the creative process, and discover new ways to work with fabrics, colour stories and textures they have not even thought about. “Watson gave us a direction, helped evaluate risk and maintain confidence in the collection”

A cognitive system is able to understand structured data and unstructured data, such as images, and can reason, learn and interact with people. For Jason Grech, IBM has used a mix of Watson APIs, including Watson Visual Recognition, and cognitive tools from IBM Research to provide insights into fashion trends, consumers and design possibilities.  Jason Grech’s collection at Melbourne Spring Fashion Week is the first time in Australia that artificial intelligence has been used in combination with creative thinking and design process.  For more information visit