If there’s one thing that becomes clear every time the first Tuesday of November rolls around, it’s that the race that stops the nation also has the power to divide the nation.
This Melbourne Cup Day, millions of Australians will tune in for the race, using it as an excuse to dress up, throw a fiver on a horse and have a glass of champagne (or seven) to celebrate.
Millions of other Australians will be shaking their heads, refusing to participate in what they perceive as the abuse of innocent animals.
I’m not here to lecture you on which side of that fence you should sit. As far as I’m concerned, it’s up to you what stance you take on the issue. If you’ve taken the time to look into the treatment of racehorses and have decided it’s okay by you, that’s your prerogative.
What I care about are ex-racehorses.
If you're a fervent race-lover, racehorses have given you a great day out. They've run their hearts out for your entertainment, and they deserve something in return. If you're throwing $50 on a random bet at the racetrack today, why not throw another $50 towards thoroughbred rehabilitation? Trust me - the odds are better.
If you're a dogged member of the anti-racing club, racehorse rehabilitation is a fantastic cause to get behind. Instead of (or as well as) posting on social media about wastage in the racing industry, why not take actual steps to prevent that wastage by promoting the re-homing of racehorses?
Whatever you think about the way horses are treated when they're involved in racing, there's one thing I can guarantee - re-homed racehorses are among the most loved (and best looked after) members of the equestrian community.
As a teenager, I had the pleasure of owning an ex-racehorse named Sam (he raced under "Shazam"). In exchange for a loving home, a bit of gentle exercise and a lot of grass, he gave me years of love and companionship.
Sam had a wonderful career in show jumping after racing. He was happy, well-fed, and probably a little bit too spoilt.
Thousands of other horses across Australia every year have the opportunity to find a relaxing, loving home like Sam did, but only with the community's support.
The NSW Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Trust does incredible work retraining and re-homing ex-racehorses. Better yet, in a fantastic new initiative which will see 1% of all racing prize money in NSW dedicated towards the rehabilitation of ex-racers, Racing NSW will be putting $200 million a year towards the safe re-homing of thoroughbreds.
Click through the gallery to see other happy thoroughbreds enjoying their post-racing lives. Post continues...
It's great to see the racing industry getting behind the welfare of horses who've finished their racing careers. But when it comes to vet bills, professional retraining, advertising for new homes, feed and board for thousands of horses a year, every dollar - even yours - counts.
This morning, I came across an image of photographer Stephanie Buckman's ex-racehorse enjoying his retirement.
While his racing counterparts are gearing up for a big day at Flemington, he's preparing for a serious day of snacking.
And no matter what your views on the Melbourne Cup are, I feel like that's an image you just can't argue with.
You can donate the the NSW Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Trust here. (And unlike betting, a little donation will go a long way.)
Last year, two horses died during the Melbourne Cup race. Watch the fallout from the tragedy on Studio 10: