It's Melbourne Cup week at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, in the Australian state of Victoria, where the equine influenza (EI, or "horse flu") outbreak that has paralyzed New South Wales and Queensland has (so far) not erupted.
Several of Australia's top horses are unable to compete because they cannot be transported out of New South Wales. Runners from Europe and Japan have been affected by quarantines as well, or fear the odds of entering the country. Last year the race was won by a Japanese horse.
But the race, made so famous to foreigner through the legend of the great Australian superhorse Phar Lap, will go on. (You may remember how cruel stewards at Flemington kept piled lead on the gifted horse to "equalize" the rest of the field.) Many top stables and racetracks are located in Victoria and South Australia. Horse that were in Victoria when the crisis began just stayed there.
The Australian Broadcast Corporation has posted a very good video profile of farrier Vaughn Ellis from Victoria and his life as a farrier on and off the racetrack. It's worth a look, and American farriers will chuckle when they see him opening a box from the USA as the narrator describes the hardship of Australian farriers, who depend on foreign manufacturers for almost everything they use.
Vaughn is not being hit too hard by the flu crisis, since it has not hit Victoria, but he does remark that he has fewer horses to shoe because the horses from Sydney are unable to come to Victoria for the spring racing season. (Australia, being in the Southern hemishere, is enjoying spring now.)
Try clicking on this type to go to the video. This is a very nice piece and is blessedly free of the sentimentality and cliches that usually mar profiles of professional farriers.
Legal strings with ABC forbid posting the video on this blog. To watch the video you need to click on the highlighted type to the right of the main text and under the photo of the horse hanging his head over a stall door.