No decision yet on United Kingdom racing

No decision yet on United Kingdom racing

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) said on Monday that horse racing in Britain, halted last week after several cases of equine influenza, will resume on Wednesday.

The veterinary committee includes representation from the BHA, Animal Health Trust (AHT), British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA), National Trainers Federation (NTF), Racehorse Owners Association (ROA), Race-course Association (RCA) Thoroughbred Breeders Association (TBA) and independent expertise.

Three horses - which subsequently rose to six - were found to have the disease at Donald McCain's stable in Cheshire.

"This yard is one of the 174 which has been required to undergo testing due to the fact that runners from the stable competed at the fixture at Newcastle on 5 February, which had been identified as a potential risk fixture".

Also relieved are the team at Plumpton, who can now go ahead with racing on Wednesday.

BHA said that as an additional measure, horses that have not been vaccinated in the previous six months will not be allowed to participate in the races.

This decision to return racing in a controlled, risk-managed manner was unanimously supported by the industry veterinary committee on Monday evening at a meeting in London.

"It has also been our intention to ensure that we avoid an issue that could result in a longterm disruption to racing with the risk of many of our major events being unduly impacted".

'There is no risk to humans and strict biosecurity measures are in place'.

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The horses that tested positive on Wednesday had been vaccinated - which is mandatory for nearly all breeds used in racing - prompting fears of a widespread outbreak of a mutant strain of the disease.

Authorities in Ireland, where there have been flu outbreaks but not in active racing yards, have lifted a temporary ban imposed on runners from Britain.

"There have been significant logistical issues associated with testing and processing so many tests in such a short space of time".

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

Dunshea acknowledged that "there is some risk associated with returning to racing" but the level of this risk was "viewed as acceptable" given the evidence and the aforementioned biosecurity measures.

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

"Should the decision be taken to return to racing on Wednesday, declarations for any fixtures staged will be at 10am on Tuesday".

Equine influenza produces symptoms similar to the human flu, including a cough and high temperature.

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