Who doesn’t love a feel good sporting story? There have been very few in 2015, the Cowboys long overdue NRL win overshadowed by Tennis Jerks, Cheating Russian Athletes, Australia dismissed within a session in the Ashes, and worse.
Amongst all the negatives was a large positive featuring the underrated jockey Michelle Payne who won the Melbourne Cup on Prince of Penzance at 100/1. Becoming the first female jockey to do so, but worth noting is that very few females have ever got a ride in the Melbourne Cup, so the gender strike-rate comparison for win v rides is firmly siding with the females.
With the trend of the Melbourne Cup going to international horses, trainers and jockey, Michelle Payne was lucky to get a ride at all, let alone being a female in the biggest race. The horse, although unfancied at 100-1 and bought for a snip at $50,000, combined with Payne and together made history.
Having been confined to a diet of Victorian Regional race meetings and occasional metro rides, she took her chance in the Cup and is now reaping the rewards that go with being a winning Melbourne Cup jockey. And she, like many other country jockeys who never get the city track time they deserve, rarely gets the chance to shine. The side story with her brother as the strapper was another reason to like the Aussie Battler.
She’s done it tough, fractured skull and broken wrist at the beginning in the very early days of her riding days, and the death of her mother when she was only 6 months old it more than many people have to deal.
So now she has a Melbourne Cup to go along with her previous two G1 winners in 2009 and 2010, and a Gurgler Person of the Year nomination.