Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle Payne copped criticism from the rider of Makybe Diva for her “Get stuffed” remark.
Glenn Boss, who rode the champion horse to a record three Cup wins, said perhaps Payne “had a bee in her bonnet” and may, in hindsight, regret her words following her historic win this week. But now he’s claiming he’s been “hung out to dry” over his own remarks.
On Tuesday, Payne became the first ever female jockey to win Australia’s biggest and most famous horse race, aboard 100/1 shot Prince of Penzance.
Immediately following her historic achievement, an excited Payne, speaking to a Channel 7 reporter live on air, described racing as a “chauvinistic sport” and revealed that some of the owners of Prince of Penzance were pushing to kick her off the mount for the race. However, trainer Darren Weir and the other owners stuck with her.
“I want to say to everyone else, get stuffed, because women can do anything and we can beat the world,” she gleefully asserted.
Soon afterwards, speaking on accepting the rider’s trophy, Payne further noted the misogynistic nature of the sport and said she hoped her win would be an inspiration to other female jockeys.
But fellow Melbourne Cup winner Glenn Boss, while acknowledging Payne was correct in saying there’s chauvinism in racing, told The Daily Telegraph that her comments detracted from her sensational achievement.
“Maybe Michelle had a bee in her bonnet and decided to air it,” Boss said.
“(In the emotion of the moment) a lot of things are said and done and probably she’ll reflect on it in a couple days and say ‘Maybe I could have handled it better’, maybe not.
“Michelle’s that type of woman; she’s a real strong character, that’s why we all love her. There probably is an underlying chauvinism there, but those barriers are being broken down bit by bit.
“It’s fair to say it still will be a male-dominated sport, that’s the way it’s been for a long time and the sooner people get their heads around that the better.”
We are equal, says Boss
Boss subsequently copped his own share of criticism for his remarks, which he sought to clarify on Thursday, speaking to Melbourne radio station 3AW, downplaying the gender imbalance.
“I did say Michelle probably had a bee in her bonnet and aired her comments, but in the industry itself there is no division between men and women,” he said.
“Amongst the men and women that ride is that there’s great respect for us all. We’re all doing exactly the same job. There is nothing different in what we do.
“Obviously Michelle said this comment and people have run with it and they wanted peoples’ reactions. But my comment was completely the opposite to what was actually printed.
“There’s absolutely no division. We are equal. It can’t be any more simple than that.”
Later on Thursday, Boss sought further to clarify his position, saying he was a good friend of Payne and a great supporter of women in racing, and that he was “hung out to dry” by The Telegraph.
“The times are changing and I’m part of it,” he told Fairfax Media.
“I go down to the apprentice school, there’s so many young girls there and I’m encouraging them to ride.
“If anyone read my tweet on [Tuesday] afternoon … do you think I’m going to do a complete backflip and go out there and bag women? That’s not what I’m about.”
A great Australian story
Payne’s “get stuffed” comment has attracted great admiration and support from women the word over and her historic win has been broadly hailed by the racing fraternity as a breakthrough.
The most respected and successful woman in Australian racing saluted the achievement.
“It was fantastic,” celebrated 2013 Melbourne Cup winning trainer Gai Waterhouse told News Limited.
“It was a real Australian story – one of those remarkable stories you don’t often get in racing.”
IMAGE: Michelle Payne, Melbourne Cup winner. (MAL FAIRCLOUGH/AFP/Getty Images)