The outcome was a fairy tale finish and was covered in all forms of the media. The family dynamic that shaped the lives of the Payne children and how they absorbed life’s knocks, tragedies, setbacks and undeterred pressed on, so that one has what it takes to step from relative obscurity into the spotlight of an admiring nation and to deal with success when it came, graciously.
The first Tuesday in November, 2015, will be remembered for more than just the race that stopped the nation. It will be a day remembered for a pint sized jockey who became the first woman in 150 years in the history of the race to win. It also reminded us that anyone can win. It was a day when a local horse, trained by a battler, paying at odds of $101 to one, would win. A trainer and a woman jockey who took on the world’s best thoroughbreds owned by racing royalty such as Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and won.
Michelle Payne was born in Ballarat, Victoria. She came into the world on the 29th September, 1985, a day when the Sun was in Libra and the Moon in the sign of Aries. I read that it is a tough combination for a woman but it does give the ability to make it in a man’s world.
Moon in Aries demands attention and has an element of daring and aggressiveness. These are great qualities for a jockey. She also has Mars, planet of energy and drive, in the sign of Virgo which when combined with the intellectual qualities of Libra gives the coolness of logic on race days. Virgo is the sign of perfection and these individuals have very high standards which they like to live up to.
Michelle was the youngest of eleven children born to Pat and Mary Payne. Forced from their dairy farm in New Zealand the family settled in Victoria in 1982 with eight of their nine children. Sadly one child had died a few days after birth.
Two more children were born in Australia, Stephen in 1983 who has Downes Syndrome and Michelle, in 1985, the golden girl who now holds the key to the male dominated kingdom of horse racing.
Tragically her mother died when she was six months old. Michelle was bought up by her father and older siblings. Stephen was only a toddler at the time and the pair had a close relationship. So much so; that Stephen was the horse’s strapper on the big day.
Her chart is an eclectic mix of independence, resilience, survival, endurance and intellect. Ten years ago, she fell in a race, suffering swelling of the brain. Her family urged her to give up racing. Her sister Brigid had died two years earlier, following a track fall.
There are many other qualities that make this young lady extraordinary. She has Jupiter, the planet of luck and fortune in the sign of Aquarius which tell us that sooner or later this individual will give us something to talk about, something that changes the world for the greater good. Of course the erratic and unpredictable side of Aquarius is tempered by the balance of her Sun in Libra.
Saturn in her chart is in the sign of Scorpio which gives endurance. These individuals mean business and are relentless in pursuit of their ambition. They enjoy the cat and mouse game of racing and can stay cool in a crisis.
She has two patterns which stand out on the 90 degree chart. Jupiter close to the Moon’s Node gives exceptional luck in life and a relationship with the public and Mars close to Uranus gives a sudden application of effort when needed.
The Mars, Uranus aspect is perfect for a champion jockey as it gives courage and an extraordinary and unusual amount of energy, made available for a purpose quite suddenly.
Natal Mercury across to Saturn can suggest the loss of a parent at an early age and hard times during infancy but it is also a good aspect for depth of though which is often seen in the charts of those involved in the racing world.
When I was learning astrology my teacher, mentor and friend Doris Greaves, said if it is not in the natal chart then it will not manifest in any way, shape or form so we have plenty here to suggest the makings of a champion.
As a little girl, Michelle dreamed of winning the big one and on Tuesday 3rd November her dream came true and as one reporter stated the real power of the Payne story is personal, not political. It is about grit, not gender.
The Payne’s are a family united, not just by ties but by tragedy. As people in racing have known for 30 years they had to look out for each other after their mother was killed on that fateful day when Michelle was just six months old. However, it was their Kiwi-Irish dad who taught them about horsemanship and sticking together.
Michelle’s faith in her own ability is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. When her hopes and dreams for the future were realized she helped lift our humanity to the fullness of what it can be.
There is an old saying in racing that the outside of a horse is good for the inside of man but after the big race on that first Tuesday in November 2015, when history was made, the story of the Payne family made us all feel good, both inside and out.