Southwell Racecourse cancel races after outbreak of equine influenza

EI outbreak halts British racing

All racing has been cancelled in the United Kingdom on Thursday after one stable returned three confirmed Equine Influenza positives from vaccinated horses.

A total of 174 racing stables have been placed in lockdown while tests are carried out - though the six positive cases identified to date all came from the Cheshire stables of Donald McCain.

The British Horseracing Authority released a statement on Wednesday, revealing a stable affected with equine flu had runners at Ayr and Ludlow earlier that day.

In a statement, the BHA said: "This approach will allow samples to be collected and assessed by the Animal Health Trust in order that a fully informed decision can be made on Monday".

The sport's ruling body said it had identified yards that could have potentially been exposed today.

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The decision that British horses should be barred from entering Irish races was deemed "a prudent step in the short term" by the IHRB's Dr Lynn Hillyer as the risk to disease in Irish thoroughbreds was unchanged.

'The results from those tests will not be known until this evening.

Horse racing has been canceled in Britain until Wednesday Feb. 13.at the earliest, due to an equine flu outbreak.

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.

"Of course we do not want a more extended period without racing, but the BHA must act in the interests of equine welfare, a William Hill spokesperson said".

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There were four meetings scheduled in the United Kingdom on Thursday at Chelmsford City, Doncaster, Ffos Las and Huntingdon along with Thurles in Ireland.

But with a highly-contagious condition such as equine flu, the situation can quickly get out of hand.

It is one of four meetings across the United Kingdom scheduled today that have been cancelled by the British Horseracing Authority. BHA procedures state that a racecourse can not race for at least four days following a deep clean having taken place. 11th February, as to when racing will resume here, although it continues in Ireland, but without any British participation.

A further update on the possible continued extent of disruption is expected from the BHA - with a packed weekend of Cheltenham trials and other big races scheduled at Newbury, Warwick, Musselburgh and in Ireland.

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