For the first time in the Melbourne Cup’s 154-year-long history, a female jockey has swept Australia’s most prestigious horse race. Australian Prime Minister Turnbull congratulated Michelle Payne on her historic victory.
“I was actually clipping his heels, I was going that good but I didn’t want to check him and then he just got into the straight and burst clear, and it was unreal,” said 30-year-old Michelle Payne, who made history on Tuesday after winning with 100-1 outsider Prince of Penzance.
Payne said that Prince of Penzance’s trainer, Darren Weir, and co-owner John Richards pushed for her to ride in the “chauvinistic sport.”
“To think that 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 Prince but John Richards and Darren were really solid with me,” said Payne.
“I can’t say how grateful I am to them and I just want to say that everyone else can get stuffed because they think women aren’t strong enough but we just beat the world,” Payne added.
Payne celebrated the win with her strapper and brother Steven, who has Down’s Syndrome, as the other participants finished the race, with Japanese favorite Fame Game finishing in 13th place.
Australian politicians, celebrities and athletes took to social media platforms to congratulate the history-maker.
Dating to 1861, the Melbourne Cup is known as “the race that stops a nation,” with Australians traditionally ending the workday early to watch the richest horse race in the country on the first Tuesday of November. The race pays out $4.4 million (4 million euros) to the top prize winner.