She is the new golden girl, now making headlines around the world.


Michelle Payne has become an overnight sensation in the aftermath of riding the 100-to-1 long shot Prince of Penzance to victory in the Melbourne Cup.

After her prestigious victory on Tuesday, Ms Payne criticised the horseracing industry as “chauvinistic” and difficult for women to excel in.

She has since become a global talking point.

‘Challenging stigmas’

The BBC and CNN were just some of the international news outlets to jump on the story, CNN said Ms Payne was “challenging stigmas”.

A day after making those comments, the 30-year-old made the rounds across Australian television and radio.

Rather than restating her stance on gender equality in the sport, Ms Payne emphasised she hopes people of all kinds are inspired by her achievement.

The 30-year-old said she hopes to be a beacon of inspiration for everyone chasing a dream.

She made particular reference to women.

“I really want to be a great ambassador, not just for our industry but for sportspeople, for women, for anybody who has a dream. You never give up,” she said.

Prince of Penzance co-owner Sandy McGregor has played comments owners wanted to dump Michelle Payne as jockey prior to the race.

“When you’re a jockey you’re always probably frightened someone’s gonna take you off, and they’re taking blokes off just as quickly as they’re taking girls off,” he said.

“But you know it’s history now isn’t it? She’s ridden a ten out of ten ride.”

Michelle Payne is one of 10 children, and when she was just six months old her mother died in a car accident.

Her father Paddy then raised the family single-handedly on a farm near Ballarat in central Victoria.

He has told the ABC he never doubted his ability to hold his family together.

“I always saw it as a challenge, and the older girls looked after the younger ones — it was easier than what a lot of people think,” he said.

“We did get a lot of help for a start, and we thought that it was better to not have too much, we better get stuck in ourselves, and we managed. Our cooking wasn’t that good, but, anyway, we’ve survived.”

But Michelle Payne did not just survive, she thrived.

With her brother and strapper Steven, who has Down syndrome, by her side on Melbourne Cup Day, she won what she says was her childhood dream.

“I had a vision about how it would all play out. It was like fate, it played out perfectly,” she said.

Ms Payne said she’s ready to be an ambassador, but hopes to go about her normal way of life and get the job done.

“I hope to live my life the way it is. I usually just cruise along and no fuss and just go out and do my job,” she added.

“It’s my passion, it’s my love.”

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