Michelle Payne created history after becoming the first woman jockey to win the Melbourne Cup.
Heading into the race Payne knew she had a chance of winning despite the fact that she was riding a horse that had a 100-1 shot of winning.
Trainer Darren Weir, laughed at the thought but still defied social expectation and gave the female jockey the chance to prove her dominance.
“To think that Darren Weir has given me a go and it’s (racing) 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,” she told ABC news.
“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.
“I can’t say how grateful I am to them. I just wanted to say that everyone else get stuffed, because they think women aren’t strong enough but we just beat the world.”
But it was not easy for the 30-year-old, suffering a number of setbacks on the way to cementing her stellar career. Her mother passed away when she was only six-months-old and in 2007 her eldest sister Brigid died from a heart attack after a fall in trackwork that left her in an induced coma.
A few years ago Australia's female athlete of the year was a horse – maybe this year it will be the jockey. Congrats Michelle Payne #MelbCup
— Katherine Bates (@KatherineLBates) November 3, 2015
Michelle has also experienced the grunt of racing after two horror falls which made her family try to convince her to give up the sport she loved. In 2004 she fell, fractured her skull and which lead to a brain haemorrhage, and after a second fall in 2012, Payne was close to retirement. But it was her father’s optimistic approach to life that helped her to reach her dreams.
“He just said when something bad happens, something good is around the corner and I believe Stevie was given to us because of what happened to my mum,” she told Nine news.
Michelle’s younger brother Steven, has been the strapper for Weir for over eight years and to have him by her side was a special moment for the family. He led Michelle and horse Prince of Penzance onto the track and into victory.
“Stevie picked the right barrier, I woke up as calm as a cucumber, I’ve been quite sick all week with tonsillitis and I took the last week off and I was so good and fresh,” she said.
“I rode 53kg and I’ve never felt that good, that light in my life,”.
The humbled horse rider has now become a role model for women in sport and an inspiration to many others. – Ellen Conroy
Top photo of Michelle Payne with her brother Steven from Michelle Payne’s Twitter .