Melbourne Cup punters looking to back both a winner in race seven and a woman seeking to smash the glass ceiling should look no further than the only female jockey in this year’s race: Katelyn Mallyon.
The 22-year-old jockey, riding Assign, could be the second woman in the history of the Melbourne Cup to ride a horse to victory if she pulls in first this afternoon.
With last years’ top cup jockey, 31-year-old Michelle Payne, now officially out of the race due to injury, Mallyon remains the only woman riding in today’s famous Flemington event.
Mallyon’s passion for horse racing is evident on social media, with her Twitter account description citing her dedication to and love for the age-old sport.
“Success is no accident, it is hard work, perseverance, learning, dedication and most of all love what your doing,” reads Mallyon’s Twitter account.
Mallyon, who hails from a horse racing family, has always loved horses since she was a child, according to her grandfather.
“She’s a good little jockey Katie, but more importantly she’s a great person,” her grandfather told media.
“I’m as proud as a peacock.”
Payne officially cleared the path for an increased acceptance of female jockeys in Melbourne Cup racing last year, when she won the race riding Prince of Penzance.
Her win, which marked our first ever Melbourne Cup win by a female jockey, was made even more controversial when Payne hit back at doubters and called horse racing a "chauvinistic" sport.
The 100-1 outsider winner also told her doubters to “get stuffed” moments after she claimed the cup as her own.
"I want to say to everyone else, get stuffed, because women can do anything and we can beat the world,” Payne told Channel Seven after the race.
“Success is no accident, it is hard work, perseverance, learning, dedication and most of all love what your doing.”
Despite recent Payne’s rise to female racing hero status, Mallyon says her mother – not Payne – is her inspiration behind her attempts to smash the glass ceiling in horse racing.
"Mum's been a huge influence on my whole entire career and life," Mallyon told Sydney Morning Herald.
"She's an amazing woman."
However, Mallyon does credit Payne’s achievements and recognises the importance of her win in 2015.
“There are plenty of girls coming through who know what is achievable,” Mallyon told The Daily Telegraph. “Thanks to Michelle riding a 100-1 winner in the Melbourne Cup we’re proving ourselves.”
Payne suffered a fall earlier this year. She raced on Darby Day last weekend but will not be riding the 2015 winner, Prince of Penzance, in the 2016 event because the horse is also injured.
Despite the glory of a woman winning the famous race, the Melbourne Cup is today shrouded in animal cruelty claims.
Questions are being asked to determine whether or not the sport has purpose in today's society.