Published: Fri, February 08, 2019
Sports | By Juana Wells

British racing halted by EI outbreak | TDN

British racing halted by EI outbreak | TDN

Racing was called off at four venues on Thursday - Ffos Las, Huntingdon, Doncaster and Chelmsford - after three horses from Donald McCain's yard in Cheshire tested positive for the disease.

Ayr and Ludlow confirmed the BHA had ordered a "level 2 deep clean" which requires the racecourses to disinfect all facilities where horses were prepared pre- and post-racing.

The British Horseracing Authority reported horses from the infected yard raced at Ludlow and Ayr on Wednesday, adding identification of the virus in vaccinated animals presented a "cause for significant concern".

Leading Irish trainer Gordon Elliott had horses running at Ayr and has confirmed in his blog with Betfair.com that the horses in question are now quarantined in an isolation yard which is a 25-minute journey from his training base in Meath.

Equine influenza, sometimes referred to as equine flu or horse flu, is a highly contagious respiratory infection. Symptoms in non-immune animals include high fever, coughing and nasal discharge.

Racing in Britain will not resume until at least Wednesday, February 13 to minimise the risk of the spread of an outbreak of equine influenza. After receiving test results, they released a statement saying that more than 50 trainers and veterinarians had been contacted to determine the risk of the flu spreading.

The authority added that a "fully informed" decision is likely to be made on Monday, allowing declarations to take place on Tuesday in time for racing on Wednesday.

Racing had been due to take place on Thursday at several tracks, with more races planned for the weekend.

The BHA have responded to public concerns by providing a Q&A on equine influenza, which can be read here.

McCain said: "We are scrupulous about observing the health status of horses in our care and taking the necessary steps to treat any condition that may affect them".

"Over the last two months, all potential runners have been scoped and their blood checked within 36 hours of their races to ensure that only healthy horses compete for the yard".

"When new horses arrive at our yard we, as much as possible, try to keep them separate but at this stage can not know if the infection came from recent arrivals or from horses returning from racing". Horses in training are required to be vaccinated for equine influenza in Ireland under the Rules of Racing.

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