United Kingdom racing chief defends six-day shutdown

09-2314O Hendersons Stable Visit

United Kingdom racing chief defends six-day shutdown

A decision will be made on Monday (local time) if racing in the United Kingdom will resume this Wednesday, after confirmation four horses have tested positive to equine influenza.

The trainers concerned have not been named but it is understood that one of those yards has now been given the all-clear to resume, suggesting that the virus was found in racehorses in Ireland before being discovered in the Cheshire stables of Donald McCain last Wednesday.

Dunshea said analysis of "thousands of samples, and no further positive tests on Monday", led the BHA to conclude that the outbreak was confined to two sites, around which "robust containment measures" have been established. We are working with the Thoroughbred Breeders Association and wider Newmarket community to attempt to contain the issue'.

Four meetings were cancelled last Thursday after three animals tested positive for equine influenza despite having been vaccinated against the disease. However, the BHA said racing would only resume with "strict biosecurity controls in place".

Speaking on Tuesday's edition of After The Last, the Racing Post scribe said participant sentiment toward the sport's governing body remained mixed despite the BHA announcing a risk-managed return to racing will take place from Wednesday nearly a week after racing was halted. "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".

Trainers including Nigel Twiston-Davies and Colin Tizzard have questioned the BHA strategy, and prominent owner Dai Walters claimed they had "lit a fire they can't put out".

A total of 174 racing stables had been placed in lockdown.

Trainers who hold entries for Wednesday are advised to declare at 10am on Tuesday.

Speaking in a statement earlier in the day, Crisford said: "None of the four horses that have returned positive tests for equine influenza displayed any clinical signs of respiratory illness, including nasal discharge and elevated temperatures, prior to the mandatory swabbing that was undertaken last Friday, February 8".

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

These controls include barring any horse from racing that hasn't been vaccinated in the previous six months.

Crisford confirmed Sajanjl, who ran at Newcastle last week, has tested negative.

At the moment the affected horses are all contained within Mr Crisford's yard.

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