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Michelle Payne celebrates a fairytale victory on Prince Of Penzance
PICTURE: Getty Images
Payne becomes first female rider to win Cup
Report: Australia, Tuesday
Flemington: Emirates Melbourne Cup (Group 1 Handicap)2m, 3yo+
Max Dynamite finished an excellent second for trainer Willie Mullins and Frankie Dettori, with Trip To Paris faring best of the British contingent in fourth.
Trip To Paris’s stablemate Red Cadeaux, three-time runner-up in the race, was pulled up near the winning post and later transferred to Werribee veterinary clinic where he has been stabilised and treated for a fetlock injury.
There was plenty of British and Irish interest at the finish – the Michael Bell-trained Big Orange grabbed fifth – but once Payne had found top gear on Prince Of Penzance a furlong out the fairytale victory was assured.
‘It’s just unreal’
Payne, 30, said: “It’s unbelievable, it’s like a dream come true. This horse is awesome and Darren Weir is an unbelievable trainer to get him here like this today.
“He was in the best shape he could be in and I’m just so grateful to them [Weir’s team] and all of the owners.
“When I won on this horse as a three-year-old here, I thought this is a Melbourne Cup horse. He just felt like he would run the two miles strong but I didn’t think he’d be that strong.
“It’s just unreal that we’re here today.”
Outsider Prince Of Penzance (Michelle Payne) beats Max Dynamite
She shares a flat with her brother Stevie, who has Down’s syndrome, and was quick to point out the role the strapper at Weir’s stable played in the poignant success.
“Stevie drawing the one was the key to this,” she said alluding to the fact that he drew the perfect gate at the race’s draw ceremony.
Later in her post-race interview, Payne took a swipe at the “chauvinistic” culture of racing. “It’s such a chauvinistic sport, a lot of the owners wanted to kick me off,” she said. “Everyone else can get stuffed [who] think women aren’t good enough.”
Dettori banned for a month
The post-race drama continued when Dettori was hit with a one-month suspension and AUS$20,000 fine for his ride on Melbourne Cup runner-up Max Dynamite after pleading guilty to careless riding.
After failing to get a clear run on the far rail down the home straight, Dettori switched his mount out and finished with a late rattle to push Prince Of Penzance all the way to the line.
Mullins: “It’s a great story and we had a terrific run. Probably not the luckiest but it’s a horse race and we’re very happy when everything is concerned. This lad can come back again.”
Big Orange set a steady early pace with fellow British raiders Quest For More, Trip To Paris and Snow Sky all taking up prominent positions.
Pace ‘too slow’ for Trip To Paris
As the tempo finally increased turning in, the quartet were still at the head of affairs with Trip To Paris looking the biggest threat before getting swamped close home by Prince Of Penzance, Max Dynamite and Criterion in third.
Tommy Berry, who also rode Trip To Paris to finish second in the Caulfield Cup, said: “The pace was just too slow in the middle stages. He didn’t show the same turn of foot over the 3,200 metres but he went super and was unbelievable for the connections who couldn’t have dreamed of having a runner. Just an end-to-end gallop would have suited.”
Quest For More stuck on for ninth to the delight of trainer Roger Charlton, who said: “He ran incredibly well but his form was all there with Big Orange. We just got a bit short of space but he ran very well and wasn’t beaten far. The only place was to be handy and those at the back had no chance.”
The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Snow Sky travelled well into contention before suffering interference at a crucial time.
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Snow Sky’s owner Khalid Abdullah, said: “Ryan got him into a super position but one horse just came across him in the straight and ruined his chance of being in the money. He wasn’t going well enough to win but up to that stage was running a hell of a race.”
Jamie Spencer’s ride on fifth-placed Big Orange also caught the attention of the Flemington stewards and the jockey was banned for 14 meetings.