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EI crisis: No UK racing for six days

EI crisis: No UK racing for six days”

All British horse racing on Thursday has been cancelled because of an outbreak of equine flu.

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.

Speaking to BBC Scotland, she added: "I'm disappointed for the people who were coming to see these wonderful horses and who might not get a chance to see them at Cheltenham or just on TV".

The BHA has said horses from infected yards have raced today at the Ayr and Ludlow race courses.

Equine influenza, sometimes referred to as equine flu or horse flu, is a highly contagious respiratory infection.

The BHA said that the fact that the cases have been identified in vaccinated horses was "a cause for significant concern over welfare and the potential spread of the disease and the action to cancel racing has been viewed as necessary in order to restrict, as far as possible, the risk of further spread of the disease".

In 2001, an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease wiped out racing for two months in Britain, leading to the cancellation of the Cheltenham Festival, which is held every March. Symptoms include fever, coughing and nasal discharge.

"The BHA's veterinary team has today been in contact with more than 50 trainers and veterinarians to allow it to make an informed assessment of the risk of equine influenza spreading".

But it added that "at least three more days are required before it will be possible to make a decision about whether it is safe to resume racing".

A number of stables, including those of Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls, were placed on lockdown while further testing was undertaken on horses who might have come into contact with the McCain runners earlier in the week. The BHA is working closely with the Animal Health Trust and will issue a further update tomorrow.

"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".

ITV Racing, which had been due to cover both Newbury's valuable meeting and significant races at Warwick this weekend, said it will instead show five races from Naas in Ireland.

A BHA release said the cross-over of horses at the tracks could cause infection to horses around Britain and in Ireland.



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