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Australia's Michelle Payne Becomes First Female Jockey to Win Melbourne Cup

Michelle Payne Wins 2015 Melbourne Cup

Michelle Payne wins the 2015 Melbourne Cup (author's screenshot).

Michelle Payne has made history by being the first female jockey to win the prestigious Melbourne Cup. Her horse, Prince of Penzance, was a 100 to 1 outsider.

The Melbourne Cup is Australia's top race, worth over A$ 6 million (US $4.5 million). In the local cliché, it's ‘the race that stops a nation’. It is even a public holiday in Melbourne itself.

Australia-based Twitter user Red Under the Beds was jubilant:

Immediately after the race, Payne was quick to see the win as a triumph over chauvinism, saying, “But I gave it everything I got. I want to say to everyone else get stuffed, they think women aren't strong enough but we just beat the world.” Her words were picked up worldwide.

Within minutes, Payne's Twitter followers jumped by 2,000 to over 12,000. This included the Victorian State Health minister Jill Hennessy, who tweeted:

It was also a very personal, family moment for Payne. Her brother Stevie, who has Down syndrome, is the horse's strapper (the person who grooms and looks after racehorses). Prior to the race, she uploaded a photo to Instagram of her brother at the barrier draw:

BuzzFeed published photos of the duo trophy in hand:

The win overshadowed animal rights issues such as the use of the whip and the life threatening injury to three-time runner-up horse Red Cadeaux, who was last reported to be “alive and well” after surgery on its leg. Some even looked for positives:

Zoe Norton Lodge seemed to sum up the feelings of those conflicted:

Some went further:

Payne's last tweet before the race congratulated record-breaking race caller Greg Miles. She used a hashtag that seems appropriate for her:

Payne's milestone comes two years after that of Gai Waterhouse, who was the first woman trainer of a Melbourne Cup winner in 2013.

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