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A Woman And Her Brother With Down Syndrome Just Won Australia's Biggest Event

And proved to the world that women and people with disabilities can do anything.

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Jockey Michelle Payne became the first ever woman to win the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, but she says she couldn't have done it without her brother Stevie, who has Down syndrome and works as a strapper at Darren Weir stables.

Quinn Rooney / Getty Images

Michelle Payne rode Prince of Penzance to win the Emirates Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse.


And he was absolutely ecstatic after the race.

2015 Melbourne Cup: @mj_payne's brother Stevie Payne. #CupDay #MelbourneCup

“Such a great ride! Great by Michelle, she needed it. Good luck to all the owners,” he told Channel 7. “It’s a great moment, it’s a great win, it’s a great ride. Ten out of ten!”

Michelle and Stevie are the two youngest members of the famous Payne racing family, and were raised by their father Paddy after their mother passed away when they were young.

He grew up around horses and watching horse races, with eight of his ten siblings working as jockeys.

"I'd watch their races on TV sometimes — always hoping they wouldn't fall off and break their collarbone, because that kind of thing happens," Stevie told the Herald Sun in 2013.

"It's part of racing. I still get nervous. I still worry about them when they ride."

Speaking to ABC News before the race, Michelle said her brother was a fantastic role model for other people with Down syndrome.

Michael Dodge / Getty Images

"I think it's great for other people with Down syndrome to see how capable they can be in normal life," she said.

"Stevie can pretty much do anything, and look after himself when he's on his own."

And now everyone in Australia is completely in love with the Payne siblings.


Michelle & Stevie Payne proving women & people with disabilities can do anything. Bloody wonderful stuff. #MelbourneCup

Only the proudest strapper in the world right now. Congratulations Stevie Payne #MelbourneCup

Michelle and Stevie Payne: The new heroes of Australian racing.

Alexandra Lee is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Alex Lee at

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