The first female jockey in the history of the Melbourne Cup to win this iconic race was the talented Michelle Payne back in 2015. On board her trusty steed ‘Prince of Penzance’, she won by half a length to become the first female in the history of the race (which, FYI, is 155 years old!!!). But her road to the top of the Australian racing industry was long and tedious.
She was the youngest daughter of Paddy and Mary Payne and entered the racing track when she was 15 years old. Not long after, she won her first race in Ballarat but in 2004 had a major fall that left her with a bruised brain and fractured skull. But that did not stop this strong lady! Even after breaking her wrist at a later day, she was determined to keep racing and she did!
2009 saw Michelle win her first Group One race and trainer Bart Cummings offered her a ride in the Caulfield Cup later that same week. This is where she starts to make history by being the third ever female to race at this prestigious event. And she first raced in the Melbourne Cup in 2009 and came 16th out of 23 horses, which is amazing for a first-timer at the Cup.
She gained stardom in 2015 when she rode the winning horse in not one, but two (!!!) Melbourne Cup races at Flemington! One of these races was the famous Golden Cup while riding ‘Prince of Penzance’ who was 6 years old. Although they had a poor start, the dynamic duo was in the front by the last 200 metres of the race and won! Talk about a comeback! When she finished, her brother Steven (in the red bib jacket) was the first at the barrier to guide her and ‘Prince of Penzance’ to the winner’s circle. How about that for brotherly love?
Were any globetrotters lucky enough to be in attendance at Flemington on this historic day?
Photo credits: Herald Sun, CNN and Irish Mirror