Champion jockey Michelle Payne has delivered an emphatic message to the “chauvinists” in the racing industry who told her she couldn’t win the Melbourne Cup.
Payne has just made history at the Melbourne Cup by winning the race with rank outsider Prince of Penzance, considered a 100-1 shot to win the Cup. Payne isn’t just the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup — she was also the only female jockey in the entire field today.
Shortly after the win, Payne took a moment to celebrate her trailblazing achievement and slam the “chauvinists” who tried to get in her way.
“To think that (owner) Darren Weir has given me a go and it’s such a chauvinistic sport, I know some of the owners were keen to kick me off, and John Richards and Darren stuck strongly with me.
“I put in all the effort I could and galloped him all I could because I thought he had what it takes to win the Melbourne Cup and I can’t say how grateful I am to them. And I want to say to everyone else, get stuffed, because women can do anything and we can beat the world!”
Payne said she had a feeling she would win today’s race, despite the odds.
“The most funny thing is that my sister, Margaret, and I both had a feeling that I was going to win and I actually had a really strong feeling I was going to win,” she said.
“But I thought, ‘Oh, don’t be stupid, it’s the Melbourne Cup’ and it turned out exactly how I thought it would!
“When he burst to the front, I was like, this is amazing, this is what I thought, and it happened. And I seriously just can’t believe it came true. It was amazing.
“The lead-up, I was so relaxed, I just couldn’t work out why I was so calm and, I don’t know, it was like it was meant to be.”
The win was also a big moment for Michelle’s brother, Steven Payne, who serves as Prince of Penzance’s strapper. Earlier in the week, Steven — who has Down Sydnrome — was given the responsibility of drawing the horse’s barrier for the race (he drew One, the dream result for Michelle).
Michelle told the ABC that Steven is challenging some of the stigma associated with people with Down Syndrome.
“I think it’s great for other people with Down syndrome – to see how capable they can be in normal life,” she said.
“Stevie can pretty much do anything, and look after himself when he’s on his own.”
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