Not only had a female jockey never won the Melbourne Cup in 155 years, but Michelle Payne was riding the 100-1 outsider Prince of Penzance.
The six-year-old gelding wasn’t even among talk for a place in a hot field featuring race favourite Fame Game from Japan and Britain’s Trip to Paris.
Payne is as tough as they come. She suffered a fractured skull during a race fall in 2004 but continued her career after recovery.
In 2015, as only the fourth female jockey to race in the Cup, Payne pushed Prince of Penance all the way with the leading group, took the lead with 100 metres to go and orchestrated an astonishing victory.
In her post race interview Payne referenced the push by some to remove her as the jockey and said “It’s such a chauvinistic sport, a lot of the owners wanted to kick me off. Everyone else can get stuffed [who] think women aren’t strong enough cause we just beat the world.”
The magnitude of her achievement resulted in a 2019 movie, Ride Like A Girl, documenting Payne’s life and defining triumph.
In 2021, the public voted on the top 20 NewsCorp Magic Moments which Michelle Payne won, recognising her as the winner of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame 2021 Hall of Fame Moment.