First Female Jockey Winner of the Melbourne Cup Calls Out the Sport
Michele Payne just became the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup.
Payne, 30, rode Prince of Penzance to a sweeping victory, putting all the doubters and "chauvinistic" naysayers, as she called them, to rest.
She said in her post-interview that she hopes her win will encourage other aspiring female jockeys to fight for their dreams.
"I would like to say that, you know, it's a very male-dominated sport and people think we are not strong enough and all of the rest of it ... you know what? It's not all about strength, there is so much more involved, getting the horse into a rhythm, getting the horse to try for you, it's being patient, and I'm so glad to win Melbourne Cup and hopefully, it will help female jockeys from now on to get more of a go."
Many have noted the coincidence of Payne's jersey colors: purple, white, and green — the same colors of the suffragettes.
Payne started riding horses at a young age, joining her siblings in the family's chosen arena of sport. Payne recalls telling classmates that she'd one day win the Melbourne Cup.
"Racing is my passion," she said.
The win marks an even more triumphant victory for Payne's entire family as her brother, who has Down's syndrome, strapped the winning mount to the horse.
"So excited that I could get the job done for him today. So thank you very much. It's just unbelievable," she told reporters. "I think it's great for other people with Down's syndrome, to see how capable they can be in normal life."
Photo Credit: Scott Barbour via Getty Images