3 Nov 2015

Prince of Penzance wins Melbourne Cup

9:12 pm on 3 November 2015

New Zealand-bred horse Prince of Penzance has claimed a surprise victory at the Melbourne Cup, with Michelle Payne becoming the first female jockey to finish first.

Jockey Michelle Payne riding Prince Of Penzance crosses the finish line to win the Melbourne Cup race at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015.

Michelle Payne, on Prince of Penzance, becomes the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup. Photo: AAP

Prince of Penzance, which was bred in Matamata by Rich Hill Stud and is owned by an Australian syndicate, was paying $65.90 to win.

Jumping from barrier one, Payne bided her time until well into the final straight before pushing the six-year-old gelding clear of the pack 200 metres from the line - holding off Irish stayer Max Dynamite.

Max Dynamite charged to second in the 3200 metre handicap, with Criterion - trained and owned in New Zealand - coming third.

Japan's Fame Game, which had been a firm favourite, finished 13th.

Michelle Payne celebrates after winning the Melbourne Cup on Prince of Penzance at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015.

Michelle Payne: "It's unbelievable, it's like a dream come true." Photo: AAP

Payne, 30, was full of emotion when she spoke to Trackside TV after the race at Flemington Racecourse. She had dreamed about winning the Melbourne Cup since she was five years old, she said.

"I lay in bed last night and I gave myself a little time to think and dream about it ... It's unbelievable, it's like a dream come true. This horse is awesome."

The winning horse's trainer, Darren Weir, applauded Payne's efforts. She was the perfect fit for the role, the trainer - who is based in Ballarat, Victoria - told Trackside TV.

"What a beautiful ride, what a great family... can't thank them enough."

Payne also thanked Weir for giving her a shot in what she said was a man's world.

"Darren Weir has given me a go and it's such a chauvinistic sport. I know some of the owners were keen to kick me off Prince, and [co-owner] John Richards and Darren stuck really solid with me," she said.

"I put in all the effort I could. I galloped him every gallop he had, and did everything I could to stay on him, because I thought he had what it takes to run a race in the Melbourne Cup.

"I just can't say how grateful I am to them. I just want to say to everyone else, [they can] get stuffed, because they think women aren't strong enough and we just beat the world."

Prince of Penzance ridden by Michelle Payne wins the Melbourne Cup on Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne Tuesday Nov. 3, 2015.

Prince of Penzance, centre, held off Irish stayer Max Dynamite to finish first. Photo: AAP

Criterion's owner, Sir Owen Glenn, told Checkpoint his horse put in an outstanding performance.

"First time he's ever ridden that distance. He was really a sprinter, and then a middle distance - he picked up, I think, seven different Group 1 [wins].

"I wanted to see what he could do as a stayer, and he came in a very credible third. He wasn't that far off the winning margin."

The race was the last for retiring New Zealand jockey Jim Cassidy, who finished towards the end of the pack on Grand Marshal.

New Zealanders gambled just over $10 million on today's Melbourne Cup, with the TAB saying one million bets were placed - well up on the 828,000 bets made last year.

Twelve hundred people picked the winner. One punter put a $20 win-and-place bet and ended up with about $2800, the TAB said. Another turned a $14 dollar bet into $900.

NZ breeder celebrates win

The Melbourne Cup is Australia's richest and most prestigious race, worth $AU6.2m ($NZ6.6m).

John Thompson runs the stud near Matamata where Prince of Penzance was bred - and he is a very happy man.

"Every time you have a horse running in a big race, you always dream that it might win, and when it does it's just a thrill," he said.

"This horse has really put the farm in the world spotlight. There's people all around the world trying to win this race and one of our graduates won it. It really is a great thrill."

Eleven international horses were among the 24 in the race. Only one of the local starters, Sertorius, was actually bred in Australia.

The last New Zealand-bred horse to win the cup was Efficient in 2007.

Steven (left) and Michelle Payne celebrate after Michelle rode Prince of Penzance to victory in the Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015.

The win was a triumph for the Payne family including Michelle's brother Steven, who is the winning horse's strapper. Photo: AAP

New Zealand-linked runners

Bred in Matamata by Rich Hill Stud, Prince of Penzance was an outsider in the big race. Michelle Payne, the only female jockey in the race, has become the first to win the Melbourne Cup. The horse was trained by Darren Weir, who works from Ballarat, Victoria, in Australia.

Owned by expatriate New Zealand businessman and philanthropist Sir Owen Glenn, Criterion is a four-time Group 1 winner in Australia (Caulfield Stakes, Queen Elizabeth Stakes, BM Australian Derby, Rosehill Guineas) and was ridden by colourful Kiwi jockey Michael Walker.

The O'Leary brothers - Dan, Michael, Shaun and Humphrey - own the 2014 Group 1 Auckland Cup winner, who is trained by expatriate New Zealander Chris Waller. The seven-year-old was bred by White Robe Lodge's Brian and Lorraine Anderton in North Taieri, Mosgiel. This was Who Shot Thebarman's second tilt at the Melbourne Cup after finishing third in the 2014 edition of the great race.

Sired by the great Zabeel, who passed away in September, Preferment was bred to stay the 3200m distance and was at good odds to join three of Zabeel's progeny (Efficient 2007, Jezabeel 1998, Might and Power 1997) as a winner of the Melbourne Cup. He was also trained by expatriate New Zealander Chris Waller and was bred in Cambridge by Mrs B M and L J Anselmi, Sir Patrick and Lady Hogan and Mrs H M and M J Moran.

The New Zealand-bred daughter of Darci Brahma was trained by former Matamata trainer John Sargent and was Sir Owen Glenn's second runner in Tuesday's race. She defeated Cox Plate winner Winx in the Australian Oaks in April this year.

Kiwi jockeys

Kiwi trainers

Fine hats on display at Flemington Racecourse on Melbourne Cup Day 2015.

Fine hats on display at Flemington Racecourse on Melbourne Cup Day 2015. Photo: AAP

Horses thunder down the straight past the crowd during a race at Flemington Racecourse on Melbourne Cup day in Melbourne on 3 November 2015.

Horses thunder down the straight past the crowd during an earlier race today at Flemington Racecourse. Photo: AFP

- RNZ / ABC / BBC / Reuters / AAP