Michelle Payne has no regrets about using her historic Melbourne Cup win to speak up for female jockeys, famously telling the chauvinists in the sport to “get stuffed”.
The first female jockey to win the Cup is happy to have used the moment to highlight that women can mix it with the best if given the opportunity.
She did not realise at the time the effect her speech would have.
“Even two years later it’s still so widely spoken about to me,” Payne said at an Oaks Day event celebrating women in sport.
“I’m really happy to have stood up for us females in any industry really because it is tough.
“There’s been a lot of times when I’ve been put down or not treated the same as the guys and that’s disappointing. All we can do is continue on and persevere.
“I think winning the Melbourne Cup was a great time to really stick up for ourselves.”
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Payne, who now trains racehorses, as well as riding, believes the situation for female jockeys has improved.
“It’s a tough world. There’s a lot of money involved.
“It’s very hard to change people’s minds even with just one win, but I think it is definitely improving.
“All we can do is continue to make the most of our opportunities and hope we can get more and more of them.”
Payne and fellow rider Katelyn Mallyon, who rode in last year’s Cup, are excited more women are aspiring to become jockeys and coming through the apprenticeship program.
Mallyon said the sport has come a long way in 20 years, given her mum Mary was not allowed to ride in the same races as men.
“It’s just nice that since Michelle won the Cup that people do look at us in a different light, that we are better.
“It’s so good to see so many young people striving to be jockeys and compete against the boys. I absolutely love it.”