Michelle Payne created history today when she became the first female jockey to win the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Prince Of Penzance.
The Darren Weir trained Prince Of Penzance was sent out as the equal $101 outsider of the field but was able to prove to be the best stayer on the day courtesy of a perfect ride from Payne.
Payne was able to snooker Prince Of Penzance away on the rails midfield from barrier one and sustained a lovely run before she started to peel off the fence at the 800m.
Approaching the home turn Payne was able to push Prince Of Penzance in between runners before getting into the clear at the 300m and went to the line strongly to score a half a length win over English stayer Max Dynamite ($13) with Criterion running a mighty race to be three quarters of a length away in third spot.
Zac Purton settled $5 favourite Fame Game well back in the field and the Japanese stayer never threatened in the straight to finish in thirteenth position, five and a half lengths from the winner.
Payne has been associated with Prince Of Penzance right from the beginning of his career and has been on board for twenty-three of his twenty-four starts and was ecstatic with her monumental achievement.
“It’s unbelievable. It’s like a dream come true,” Payne said.
“When I won on this horse as a three year old and he won here I thought that this is a Melbourne Cup horse.”
“He just felt like he would run the two mile out strongly. He was still towing me into the straight and he just burst to the front and he was powering along.”
“Coming down the straight the first time he was going a bit steady and I had to give him a bit of a dig, I didn’t want to stir him up but I had to hold my spot where I wanted to be.
“He travelled strongly the whole distance and after that it just opened up and Trip To Paris took me into the race.”
Weir was able to fly the flag for the Australian trainers in a Melbourne Cup field that was studded with high quality international stayers.
Melbourne’s premier trainer turned Prince Of Penzance out in top condition after he showed he was hitting his best form with a last second to The United States in the Group 2 $250,000 Melbourne Signage Concepts Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) at Moonee Valley on October 24
“Unbelievable feeling,” Weir said.
“I thought he was tracking up beautifully and got a beautiful run through. What an absolute thrill and what an absolute credit to the team at home.”
“What a beautiful ride, what a great family and can’t thank them enough.”
“It has got harder each year and I keep saying to the owners it is hard enough to get into the race let alone win it, just enjoy the day and hope like hell we can run the top ten.”
Runner up Max Dynamite was given a nice run midfield by Frankie Dettori and the Willie Mullins trained six year old finished off strongly while third placegetter Criterion was also brave to the line after having a nice run just behind the leading bunch.
Second favourite Trip To Paris ($6) ran a nice race to finish fourth while three time Melbourne Cup runner up Red Cadeaux failed to finish and was shipped off immediately to the Werribee Veterinary clinic for treatment.