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Ride Like a Girl - Film Review

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by Helen Belli (subscribe)
I am now living in Kariong on the Central Coast
Published October 18th 2019
Winning against impossible odds
Michelle Payne rides to victory in the 2015 Melbourne cup

'Just want to say to everyone else you can get stuffed, because they think women aren't strong enough and we just beat the world'

Michelle Payne won the 2015 Melbourne Cup riding Prince of Penzance. The horse had some form as a group one racer but was given the odds of 100 to 1. 4 women before her had tried to win the toughest 2 mile race in the world without success, making Michelle the first to achieve this magic goal.

Paddy Michelle Steve and Rachel at the premier of the film

Michelle, the youngest of 10, was a baby of 6 months when she lost her mother in a car accident. She knew from the age of 8 what she wanted to do, win the Melbourne cup. Her father, Paddy Payne, is a horse trainer. 7 of his children fulfilled their dreams and became jockeys.

Michelle started her apprenticeship in 1990 at the age of 15. Obstacles for a girl of determination and courage in many walks of life were normal, in particular racing was the fiercely guarded domain of male jockeys.

'Go away bush girl'

'Girls don't ride in the Melbourne Cup'

Michelle suffered numerable falls during her apprenticeship. Breaking bones is not unusual in the equine sports arena. Not even cracking her skull, lying in a coma for days –having to learn body coordination didn't dampen her dream. Slowly, slowly she recovered to continue again. No easy rise to fame. She never, never gave up. She is Miss Cool, a superior horsewomen and a lover of fine though breed horses. Passionate ambition drives her every effort. A role model for ambitious women in every walk of life.

'It's not all about speed, be patient and look for the gap'. She followed Paddy's advice.

Paddy Payne is a gentleman who is sustained by his Roman Catholic faith which helps him endure hardship and joy. Sam Neil portrays the essence of the Irish father.

Teresa Palmer plays Michelle with enough sympathy to bring tears to the eyes of all in the cinema.

This is Rachel Griffiths, who has many successful starring roles as an actor to her name, debut as a film director. Together with writers Andrew Knight and Elise Mc Credie, Griffiths incorporates the values of equality, hard won by a talented woman. She explores respect for people with disabilities.

Michelle loves her Down syndrome brother [played by himself] and credits some of her success to his talent as her strapper and his encouragement to get back on a horse after her terrible fall.

Martin McGrath is responsible for the shots of the Australian landscapes and action shots as he tracks Michelle's slow rise to the top of her game.

Michelle had to fight so hard for a good old Aussie 'fair go'. She proved her tenacity was worth the herculean effort. You go girl!
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