Tuesday 26 September 2017

'Get stuffed!' First female jockey to win Melbourne Cup hits out at chauvinists

Michelle Payne rode outsider Prince of Penzance to victory in the 154th Melbourne Cup race

Michelle Payne created history as she became the first female rider to win the Emirates Melbourne Cup aboard outsider Prince Of Penzance at Flemington in Australia.

However, Payne's landmark victory was overshadowed by a suspected fetlock injury sustained by Ed Dunlop's popular veteran Red Cadeaux, who was pulled up before the line in his fifth outing in the two-mile feature.

A Racing Victoria statement read: "Racing Victoria's head of equine welfare and veterinary services, Dr Brian Stewart, advises that Red Cadeaux has sustained a suspected fetlock injury to his left foreleg during the concluding stages of today's Emirates Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse.

"On-course veterinarians have splinted and stabilized the horse's leg and he has now been transferred to the University of Melbourne Veterinary Clinic at Werribee to undergo further assessment.

"An update on the horse's condition will be provided once known."

While Red Cadeaux's injury slightly tempered the mood on the track, Payne's victory was certainly well received as she secured her place in the record books on her Darren Weir-trained mount.

The Payne family are well known in Australia as Michelle Payne's father Paddy was a jockey and she is one of eight siblings to pursue a career in the saddle, with her brother Patrick also now a trainer.

Another of Payne's brothers Stevie, who has Down's Syndrome, works for Weir and led up Prince Of Penzance for his big-race victory, making it a truly memorable family occasion.

Payne was happy to settle her mount in the early stages as British runners Quest For More and Big Orange, who were both drawn wide, were promptly away and set the early pace along with Excess Knowledge.

ayne was understandably thrilled to secure her place in Melbourne Cup history.

She said: "(It's) unbelievable. I was lying in bed last night and gave myself a chance to think and dream about it, and thought about it as if I was being interviewed after the race. It's like a dream come true. This horse is awesome.

"Darren Weir is an unbelievable trainer to get him here. All of his staff, including those at Warrnambool, this is all down to them. They got this horse here in the best shape he could be in. I'm just so grateful and thankful to them and all of the owners. This is just awesome."

“It shows you can dream about anything, he was bought for $50,000 and he’s won the owners a Melbourne Cup.

“I think one or two of the owners wanted to take me off but hopefully they’re pretty happy with me now.

“I know it’s a male-dominated sport and people don’t think we’re strong enough. It’s about so much more than that, you’ve got to get a horse in a rhythm, be patient.

"I want to say to everyone else, get stuffed, because women can do anything and we can beat the world."

“I’m so pleased to win and hopefully it will mean people give more female jockeys a go.”

Weir added: "This is a lifetime dream come true. I'll enjoy it with these blokes (the owners and staff) for sure. I can't thank them enough and this is the most unbelievable thing to happen to anyone.

"It all started with this dream to win a Melbourne Cup and Sandy McGregor, a mate of mine, offered to put the money up, and the rest is history.

"He'd had two joint surgeries, then when he was about to come back into work he got a twisted bowel and a colic operation - what an amazing horse."

Tommy Berry, rider of Trip To Paris, felt the race was not really run to suit his mount.

He said: "The slow tempo mid-race didn't suit him. He would've liked it a bit more mid-race but I thought I was the winner at the top of the straight, but he didn't show the same turn-of-foot as he did in the Caulfield Cup.

"The winner had me cold straight away and that probably dented his confidence."

Big Orange's rider Jamie Spencer was satisfied with his mount's effort, although he thought the ground was against his horse.

He said: "A good run around. The draw made it difficult and I felt the track was a little bit 'dead' for my horse."

Damien Lane rode Quest For More and he said: "Super run. A bit more room in the straight and he finishes closer."

Colm O'Dongohue pronounced himself "happy enough" with Kingfisher's effort, but Bondi Beach's rider Brett Prebble thought his runner was caught for speed.

He said: "(He is a) lovely horse. His style of racing left him flat-footed in the finish and it was just all too much for him too quickly."

William Buick thought the two-mile trip had proved beyond Godolphin runner Sky Hunter.

He said: "(I) tried to get a smooth trip. He was three-wide the whole way around but he was in a nice rhythm.

"The pace was stop-and-start and I was in a spot that I could do something about it. Bottom line is that he probably doesn't get the trip."

Moore admitted he was unlikely to have won on Snow Sky, adding: "I was running a nice race. I wasn't going to win but I just got chopped off."

It was later confirmed Spencer had been banned for 14 meetings after being judged guilty of careless riding.

Sir Michael Stoute's Snow Sky was also prominent in the early stages and he was disputing the lead with Big Orange as the field straightened up for home.

However, Payne was just getting Prince Of Penzance into top gear with around a furlong and a half to go and she enjoyed a clear run down the middle of the track while Frankie Dettori had to switch wide behind her to find room to challenge on the Willie Mullins-trained Max Dynamite.

Mullins' runner accelerated once given space, but the line just came too soon, with Prince Of Penzance triumphing by half a length with Criterion a length and a quarter back in third.

Dunlop's other runner Trip To Paris was beaten two lengths in fourth with Michael Bell's Big Orange fifth and Quest For More eventually ninth for Roger Charlton.

Snow Sky appeared to be squeezed for room in the closing stages, with Ryan Moore having to snatch up his mount, and he eventually finished last of the 23 finishers with Saeed bin Suroor's Sky Hunter a place in front of him.

The Aidan O'Brien-trained pair of Bondi Beach and Kingfisher failed to figure, finishing 16th and 19th respectively.

There was also a further sting in the tail for Dettori, who was banned for one month and fined $20,000 for his efforts in the saddle.

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