A woman has won the Melbourne Cup for the first time in its 154-year history.
Smashing odds of 100-1, Australian Michelle Payne praised her trainer Darren Weir and told chauvinist doubters in the sport to “get stuffed”.
The 30-year-old, who romped to victory on Pride Of Penzance, says: “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, and John Richards and Darren stuck strongly with me ... I want to say to everyone else, 'get stuffed', because women can do anything and we can beat the world.”
Michelle is only the fourth female jockey to ride in the Cup. One of 10 children, seven of her siblings are trained jockeys and it has been her lifelong dream to win the prestigious race.
“I know it’s a male-dominated sport and people don’t think we’re strong enough,” Michelle adds. “It’s about so much more than that, you’ve got to get a horse in a rhythm, be patient.”
“I’m so pleased to win and hopefully it will mean people give more female jockeys a go.”
She thanked her family in a podium speech and said she had “got the job done” for her brother Stephen, who is her strapper, a job that involves assisting the trainer and taking care of the horses.
He was responsible for drawing Prince of Penzance's number one barrier and correctly predicted the horse would be “in front at 200 metres [to go]," ABC reports.
Ahead of the race, Michelle paid tribute to her brother, who has Down's syndrome, for challenging some of the stigmas faced by people with the condition.
“I think it’s great for other people with Down’s Syndrome, to see how capable they can be in normal life,” she told ABC. “Stevie can pretty much do anything, and look after himself when he’s on his own.”