February 23, 2019

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Equine flu: British horse racing to resume after shutdown over virus

Horses at Simon Crisford’s Newmarket stables – certainly one of two yards with contaminated animals

Horse racing in Britain will resume on Wednesday after a six-day shutdown following an outbreak of equine flu.

Two scheduled soar racing fixtures will go forward at Musselburgh and Plumpton, alongside the all-weather fixtures at Southwell and Kempton.

Racing was suspended after three circumstances of equine flu at Donald McCain’s Cheshire stables. Three additional circumstances have been later reported at his yard.

A complete of 174 racing stables had been positioned in lockdown.

Trainers will likely be assessed earlier than they’re given the all-clear to have runners, whereas 5 races referred to as off through the shutdown have been rescheduled and Ascot will stage a bumper nine-race card on Saturday.

The Denman Chase, which had been due to characteristic final yr’s Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Native River, and the Betfair Hurdle will likely be staged at Ascot after Newbury’s assembly on 9 February was cancelled.

A choice to resume racing in a “controlled, risk-managed manner” was unanimously supported by an trade veterinary committee, stated the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).

The committee felt there had been “an unprecedented amount” of the extremely contagious virus in Europe, and it was important precautions have been taken to shield horses.

“Clearly there is some risk associated with returning to racing,” stated the BHA’s chief regulatory officer Brant Dunshea.

“This risk has been assessed and, based on the evidence – and ensuring biosecurity measures are in place – the level of risk is viewed as acceptable.”

Equine flu: Inside the Newmarket laboratory that detected the outbreak

Fears there could be an prolonged suspension of racing, and a possible impression on subsequent month’s Cheltenham Festival, have been raised when a second outbreak, involving 4 vaccinated horses, was confirmed late on Sunday at coach Simon Crisford’s Newmarket yard.

But no additional optimistic outcomes have been discovered after 1000’s of samples have been analysed.

While equine influenza will not be not like human flu – with typical signs together with a cough and excessive temperature – it limits the aggressive functionality of racehorses.

All racing in Britain has been suspended since 7 February, with 23 conferences misplaced through the shutdown.

Jump racing’s showpiece Cheltenham Festival is scheduled to happen from 12 to 15 March.

“Our approach since hearing about the first positive results last Wednesday has been based on accumulating as much information as we could as quickly as possible so we could properly understand the risks of this virulent strain of flu spreading to more horses,” stated Dunshea.

“That could be dangerous to them and damaging to any trainers’ yards that grew to become contaminated.

“It has additionally been our intention to be sure that we keep away from a problem that would lead to a long-term disruption to racing with the danger of lots of our main occasions being unduly impacted.”

Rescheduled races

Friday 15 February

  • Kingmaker Novices’ Chase – Sandown Park (from Warwick)

Saturday 16 February

  • Betfair Hurdle – Ascot (from Newbury)
  • Denman Chase – Ascot (from Newbury)
  • Mares’ Hurdle – Haydock Park (from Warwick)
  • Mares’ Chase – Wincanton (from Exeter)

Calendar: Forthcoming British race conferences

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