In one of the most amazing Melbourne Cup victories in recent times, Michelle Payne and the Darren Weir-trained Prince of Penzance have stormed to victory in the 2015 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) ahead of European trained galloper Max Dynamite and the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig trained Criterion.
The win in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup saw Payne become the first female jockey to win arguably the greatest and most prestigious race in the world, and Tuesday’s triumph was an emotional one for all involved.
Darren Weir, like Payne, is a Ballarat battler, and despite his success as a trainer over his career, none of his previous achievements compare with Tuesday’s result, which is without a doubt a life changing one.
“Some dreams do come true.’’ he said.
It’s been a long and tough road to the Melbourne Cup for the Weir stable and Prince of Penzance, with the horse suffering multiple setbacks on his way to Melbourne Cup glory.
“He’s an amazing horse. He’d had two joint surgeries, then he was about to come back into work and he got a twisted bowel. What an amazing horse.’’ Weir said.
Prince of Penzance started the race at triple figure odds, effectively given no hope in the twenty-four horse field by many racing pundits. There were a few who believed however, that the six year-old gelding from the Weir stable had a fighting chance in this year’s race, one of them being Payne herself.
“I always said he was the best horse I’d ridden,’ Payne said.
“I’m so glad I stuck with him,’’
“When I won on this horse as a three-year-old I thought this is a Melbourne Cup horse. I thought he’d run two miles out, but far out, I didn’t think he’d be that strong.
A victory in a Melbourne Cup changes lives, no matter the stature of the person involved but this year’s win means a great deal more in the grand scheme of things.
In all the years of the Melbourne Cup being run, this is the first time a female jockey has won it despite the rising success of female jockeys in more recent years.
Payne will now be seen as a trailblazer for other female jockeys who strive to claim racing’s ultimate prize.
With racing still dominated predominately by male jockeys, Payne expressed her thoughts post-race, revealing how some owners didn’t want her on the horse and how she believes racing is a ‘chauvinistic’ sport.
“I just wanted to say to everyone else (that) they can get stuffed, because they think women aren’t strong enough but we just beat the world.” Payne said in an emotional post-race interview.
Michelle Payne is the youngest member of the Payne family, a family synonymous with thoroughbred racing in Australia.
Her story, however, was not the only story to bring a smile to the face of many racing followers after Tuesday’s result, with Michelle’s older brother, Steven, strapping the Melbourne Cup winner.
Steven, who suffers down-syndrome, was a picture of elation following Prince of Penzance’s win and now looking back, it seemed like the victory was meant to happen.
‘Stevie’ by chance selected barrier one in last Saturday’s Melbourne Cup barrier draw, the barrier he had said he wanted prior to walking up onto the stage and picking up the small cup which was labelled ‘1’ underneath.
We all should have realised then, that Prince of Penzance’s win was simply meant to be.
Three-time Melbourne Cup runner-up and champion overseas stayer Red Cadeaux failed to finish this year’s race with the horse breaking down during the run.
It was a sad sight for many with the champion galloper being rushed off to the Werribee veterinary clinic following the race, fortunately the ten year-old from the Ed Dunlop stable came through surgery well and may be staying in Australia to live out his life at the ‘Living Legends’ which is a home for champion racehorses in Australia upon retirement.
Legendary jockey Frankie Dettori also caused severe interference during his ride on the second-placed Max Dynamite, shifting out abruptly during the home straight causing other runners to collide with each other.
Champion Australian jockey, Jimmy Cassidy, admitted he was lucky to stay in the saddle following Dettori’s interference.
Dettori was given a one-month suspension and a $20,000 fine following his ride on Max Dynamite.