Just an hour after watching Michelle Payne create history in the Melbourne Cup at Flemington, Stacey Metcalfe rode a cup winner herself – at Wentworth.
Just to be sure, she backed it up with a win in the last for a race-to-race double.
It was another win for girl power as Australia took in what Payne’s victory meant for women in the sport of kings.
“It was amazing, it really was – I had goose bumps,” Metcalfe said of Payne’s win.
“It’s a fairytale, it was so beautiful, it brings a tear to your eye.”
If Metcalfe was in awe of Payne’s “textbook” ride, then she was inspired by the speech that followed in which it was clear how difficult life can be for women in racing.
“The words she said… she’s such a strong person to come out there and say it,” Metcalfe said.
“Everyone says it’s a male dominated sport but it doesn’t have to be and she’s proved them wrong – she’s done it.”
At 27, Metcalfe is a mature-age apprentice who has been riding races for just seven weeks, but her stats suggest she’s going places.
The Wentworth Cup win came just 10 days after claiming the Silver City Cup on the same horse, Honor The Moment.
Veteran trainer David Heywood was impressed, sending her a text to say ‘We’ll have to start calling you the Cups Queen.’
“It was pretty much a fairytale for us as well... I’ve only had 20 rides, for 4 wins, and all on her horses, Cindy Brander,” Metcalfe said.
“She’s the owner-trainer – another female – it’s just girls, girls, girls!”
Metcalfe was aware of racing’s reputation but has only positive things to say about her own experience.
“I was pre-warned on how bad it can be and I’d been told about the pressure you’re under, but I’ve got to say I’ve had a lot of support.”
Apprenticed to George Dimitropoulos and riding trackwork daily for Chris Heywood, the woman from Mildura couldn’t have higher praise for the two Wagga trainers.
“They have both been so supportive and helpful, they are amazing,” she said.
Metcalfe said fellow jockeys have also been only too happy to help, noting Brad Clark and John Kissick as great role models.
While retired Wagga jockey, Graham Power, was full of praise for Payne’s inspiration to young women.
“She stood up for herself, she stood up for their rights.
“People don’t think the girls are strong enough but it’s all about technique.
“And a lot of the girls, they’ve got better hands.
“She (Payne) rode that horse a treat.”
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