2015 Melbourne Cup – Payne and her Prince stun the world
“To those who say women aren’t strong enough, get stuffed.”
Michelle Payne had that message for the doubters after long shot Prince Of Penzance’s stunning win in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington.
Payne became the first woman to win a Melbourne Cup in the great event’s 155-year history while Prince Of Penzance became the first stayer to win the race as a 100/1 shot since Old Rowley in 1940.
Payne used barrier one to save all possible ground in a slowly-run Melbourne Cup before she was able to ease the Darren Weir-trained galloper onto the back of the well-backed Trip To Paris ($8 – $6) at the 800m.
Payne said Prince Of Penzance was travelling perfectly rounding the home turn but she still had to bide her time before asking the son of Pentire to quicken at the 400m.
“From the 1000(m), everything just opened up. I got onto the back of Trip To Paris and he took me into the race,” Payne said.
“I was actually clipping his heels, I was going that good, but I didn’t want to check but when he got into the straight, he just burst clear.
Prince Of Penzance sprinted home his last 600m in 33.87 seconds to beat the unlucky Max Dynamite, who was held up on the turn, by a half-length while Criterion ($19) was another three-quarters of a length away third.
The gelding’s win inspired brilliant scenes as Payne celebrated with her brother Stevie, who has Down Syndrome and strapped the Melbourne Cup winner, while Weir marvelled at Prince Of Penzance’s bravery to even make the field for the $6 million event.
“He’s an amazing horse. He’s had two joint surgeries and when he was about to come back in, when he was about to come into work, he had a colic operation. What an amazing horse,” Weir said.
“I just thought what a beautiful horse the run had got. At the furlong, I was thinking ‘where’s that bloody winning post’.”
Runners that settled in the back half of the field had little chance of getting into the finish. The $5 favourite Fame Game settled well back and struggled to make an impression before finishing 13th.
Trip To Paris stuck on fairly well in the straight to finish fourth but his Ed Dunlop-trained stablemate Red Cadeaux failed to finish.
The popular 10-year-old was immediately transferred to the Werribee Veterinary Clinic for an assessment.