She did not just win, comfortably – she stuck right up them. She said that some in a chauvinistic sport had tried to get her off the horse – they could go and get stuffed. As could those who did not think that women were up to it. She radiated defiance, in a great moment, a very great moment for us, and not just in sport. It was thrilling. it was like an America’s Cup moment.
And then it got surreal. Instead of this bright new star, we got three bourgeois suits – one of them with a gong, in the name of God – just banging on. And on. The trainer brought us back to earth. A true man of the soil from Ballarat – who had stuck by his jockey in the face of opposition. He said there would be a do at the pub. The jockey was again not short for words. And her brother, who suffers from Down Syndrome, got an award as the strapper.
Not all the toffs or the money in the world can top that story, and some day the timeless Australian face of Michelle Payne will look down on us from a postage stamp.