Is Ride Like a Girl based on a true story? Truth behind the film

The true facts behind the events depicted in the Australian film.

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Ride Like a Girl

With the reopening of cinemas after the coronavirus lockdown still a few weeks away, a range of films that might have got a theatrical release are continuing to debut on streaming services and video on demand platforms.

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One of the latest movies to fall into that category is Ride Like a Girl, an Australian biographical sports film that stars  Teresa Palmer and Sam Neill and tells the real-life story of Michelle Payne, the first female jockey to win the prestigious Melbourne Cup.

You can watch the film in the UK now via Amazon Prime Video or Netflix in the US – here’s everything you need to know about the true events that inspired the movie.

Is Ride Like a Girl true story?

Michelle Payne was born in 1985 as the youngest of ten children, and was raised by a single father after her mother tragically died in a car crash just six months after Michelle’s birth.

There was a rich horse riding tradition in the Payne family – her father was a trainer and an astonishing eight of the ten siblings began riding competitively – and Michelle reportedly had her sights set on the top from very early on, telling friends that she hoped to one day win the Melbourne Cup when she was just seven years old.

Prior to the Melbourne Cup in 2015, Payne had already had an eventful career – she had been severely injured after a nasty fall in 2004, and began to win some major accolades in 2009, claiming her first Group One (the highest level of race) victory in that year while also becoming the third female rider to enter the Caulfield Cup and making her debut at the Melbourne Cup – finishing 16th out of 23rd.

Michelle Payne
The real Michelle Payne in 2020

Her Melbourne Cup win in 2015 followed a similar success at the Hilton Hotels Stakes and gained Payne national attention – as she was the first woman to achieve the victory, after 155 years of the competition (she was also only the fourth woman to ride in the race).

Payne won riding Prince of Penzance, a six-year-old gelding with whom she had long been associated that had been bought for only $50,000 – a very small sum compared to the usual figure and was therefore seen as a huge shock, Payne having been a 100-1 outside shot with the bookmakers at the start of the race.

Describing horse racing as “chauvinistic” in the aftermath of her victory, Payne claimed that she hoped her success could help pave the way for other female jockeys to make their breakthrough in the sport.

Where can I watch Ride Like a Girl?

In the UK, the film isn’t available with any streaming service subscriptions, but you can rent it on Amazon Prime Video.

It’s also available to watch via Sky Store, Apple TV, Google Play, Rakuten, Chili, BT TV, Talk Talk and Virgin.

And if you live in the US it’s even easier, with the film available on Netflix.

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Check out our lists of the best TV shows on Netflix and the best movies on Netflix, or see what else is on with our TV Guide