Published: Thu, February 14, 2019
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Horseracing to resume in Britain after equine flu contained

Horseracing to resume in Britain after equine flu contained

British Horseracing Authority chief executive Nick Rust has defended the six-day shutdown and says it was necessary to get a "clear picture" of the equine flu outbreak.

Racing in Britain was suspended last week after the Cheshire stables of trainer Donald McCain were hit with horses with the virus.

Jumps fixtures at Musselburgh and Plumpton and all-weather fixtures at Southwell and Kempton will go ahead on Wednesday.

"What we are comfortably satisfied with is that we have got sufficient measures in place to understand what has happened with the disease and how to contain and control it". However, the BHA said racing would only resume with "strict biosecurity controls in place".

The British Horseracing Association (BHA) said on Monday that a "controlled, risk-managed" return would be permitted following a six-day hiatus.

The BHA will then review the declarations to ensure none are entered which do not meet risk criteria.

A total of 174 racing stables were placed in lockdown, while thousands of horses were tested for the virus.

"We are finalising overnight which category individual trainers will now be placed in".

BHA director of equine health and welfare David Sykes said the BHA and the veterinary committee agreed that, on balance, the level of risk was acceptable for a return to racing.

Also on the card is the Betway Handicap Chase (for the Harry Dufosee Memorial Trophy); a race steeped in history, and held in memory of the late, great Harry Dufossee who played a pivotal part in ensuring racing continued at Wincanton after WWII by buying the land with a group of friends.

"As long as they can fulfil that requirement, they are fine".

Trainers planning to compete on Wednesday were advised by the BHA to declare at 10am on Tuesday.

"Having had the opportunity to consider things over the weekend, the board have made the decision that we are able to support that movement - which is obviously good news for everybody".

"The critical thing is they have to have had the correct vaccination within the eight weeks preceding the run".

In a statement, he said none of the four horses who tested positive displayed any clinical signs of respiratory illness prior to the mandatory swabbing undertaken last Friday. The horse in question was fully vaccinated, as are all the horses that are stabled on our site. All four identified horses have been vaccinated within the last six months, along with the rest of the yard and in line with protocol'.

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