United Kingdom horse racing suspended due to equine flu

Posted February 11, 2019

While prevention is better in that instance, perhaps that same mantra should have been applied in terms of postponing the Irish racing calendar until the picture becomes a little clearer in Britain in a few days.

I then asked Lee how serious this could be for this year's festival.

"Customers who had booked tickets should contact the racecourse to organise an exchange or refund, as appropriate".

Phumelela International and TellyTrack have reorganised the betting schedule and TV broadcast for today after the news from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) that racing will not resume in the United Kingdom until Wednesday at the earliest, with a decision to be taken on Monday.

In 2001 the meeting was cancelled due to the foot and mouth crisis, but with over a month until this year's meeting there is hope a similar situation can be avoided.

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Thurles staged the only meeting in Ireland as scheduled on Thursday, and runners from Britain will not be permitted to race in Ireland until further notice.

Equine flu is easily passed to other horses, and considering McCain had runners earlier this week, they could have potentially been carrying the flu.

BHA chief executive Nick Rust says he will not know if Cheltenham Festival will go ahead or not in 32 days until next week.

Stuart Williamson of Newmarket Equine Hospital is one of a large number of vets, all decked out in protective clothing, involved in taking nasal swabs from horses in the yards under temporary closure.

The Grand National, the world's greatest steeplechase, is due to take place in Liverpool on April 5 and could also be under threat if the disease is not brought under control.

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The outbreak was discussed in parliament on Thursday.

The measure taken by the BHA are not just to protect racehorses, but Britain's wider equine community, as it is not compulsory for all horses to be vaccinated.

The alarm was raised on Wednesday night when three vaccinated horses at McCain's base were found to have equine influenza. The BHA consulted with its veterinary committee before making this decision.

The East Lothian fixture featured eight races with £160,000 in prize money and a huge crowd was expected to attend until the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) imposed the ban.

It is a highly contagious respiratory infection, causing symptoms similar to a flu in humans and lasting for about a week.

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