Before Michelle Payne thundered across the finish line at the Melbourne Cup atop Prince of Penzance to take out Australian racing’s biggest prize, there was one person who never doubted she could do it.
Payne’s father, racing stalwart and former trainer Paddy Payne, quietly watched the race in his lounge room at home at Miners Rest, west of Ballarat.
Mr Payne, a well-known racing identity and former jockey, said he had been inundated with calls and messages of congratulations.
“It’s [been] an exciting day and a rewarding day,” he said.
Mr Payne said he was not a betting man, but had watched Prince of Penzance in several races over the last year and thought the horse had a good chance of winning.
“We were quite confident really,” he said.
“We’ve had good luck. My kids are good, they’re very good.”
The father of 10 said his youngest daughter had suffered some setbacks before her triumphant win at Flemington.
“She’s had some nasty falls, we tried to tell her to give it away but she kept going and she’s been well rewarded for doing it,” he said.
“She’s the baby of the family.”
Mr Payne, 79, raised 10 children on his own after the death of his wife Mary when Michelle was six months old.
Another daughter, Brigid, a former jockey, died of a heart attack in 2007.
“We’ve had some good success and some bad luck as well. We’re a close family and we get on good and my kids get on good, it’s lovely for me to see that,” Mr Payne said.