Friday, 22 February, 2019

Enquine flu outbreak forces British racing to be cancelled

EI outbreak halts British racing UK racing cancelled over EI scare
Johnnie Parks | 08 February, 2019, 14:44

And while money will be lost on a host of fronts without racing in the United Kingdom until at least next Wednesday, the ramifications which the equine flu could have on the thoroughbred racing industry are catastrophic.

It was later announced that racing in Britain has been suspended until at least Wednesday, February 13.

It also means that the seven races at Newbury, including the Betfair Hurdle and the Denman Chase, have had to be cancelled.

A call is set to be made on Monday over a possible resumption of racing dependent on the outcome of tests on racehorses around the country.

"The BHA has worked quickly to identify which yards could have potentially been exposed today and identify the further actions required".

"Once we know whether there has been a spread (of infection) there or not, we will be in a much better position to know where racing is".

"We felt clarity for the industry was the most important thing at this challenging time".

"We're just letting all the customers who bought tickets, hospitality boxes and restaurant places the bad news then we'll get round to thinking about the future after that".

The vulnerability of British horses outside the racing population is a potential complication, Henderson points out.

It is one of four meetings across the United Kingdom scheduled today that have been cancelled by the British Horseracing Authority.

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Thursday's fixtures at Huntingdon, Doncaster, Ffos Las and Chelmsford City have been cancelled.

Equine influenza is not markedly different from human flu - infected horses suffer with coughing and runny noses and generally feel run-down. Horses remain infectious for about a week.

'Losing something as huge as the Cheltenham Festival has a huge impact on the sport.

Since the incubation period for equine influenza can be up to 72 hours, samples will be taken on Friday from horses that raced at Ayr and Ludlow and sent to the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket for analysis. With McCain-trained horses running in Britain this week that potentially exposed a significant number of horses from yards across Britain and in Ireland. After every race meeting it is a requirement to to do deep cleaning of the equine areas.

The British Horseracing Authority released a statement on Wednesday, revealing a stable affected with equine flu had runners at Ayr and Ludlow earlier that day.

The outbreak was discussed in parliament on Thursday.

Cases of equine influenza had been reported in recent weeks, originally in France but spreading to Ireland and Britain.

The crisis was sparked on Wednesday night when three vaccinated horses tested positive at the Cheshire stables of Grand National-winning trainer Donald McCain - whose late father Ginger saddled the legendary Red Rum to a record three National wins in the 1970s.

There is no jurisdiction for horses outside of racing to say that you have to be vaccinated. It is highly contagious. The BHA consulted with its veterinary committee before making this decision. "At the moment the decision to suspend racing sits entirely with the British Horseracing Authority".

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