Horse racing at Doncaster cancelled due to equine flu outbreak

Henrietta Strickland
February 7, 2019

The cards at Huntingdon, Doncaster, Ffos Las and Chelmsford will not go ahead after an outbreak known to have affected at least three horses was discovered in a British trainer's yard. Those three horses had been vaccinated against the illness.

Leading Irish trainer Gordon Elliott had horses running at Ayr and has confirmed in his blog with Betfair.com that the horses in question are now quarantined in an isolation yard which is a 25-minute journey from his training base in Meath.

McCain is the only trainer to have had runners at both Ayr and Ludlow yesterday, with Raise A Spark finishing last of four in the Weatherbys Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide Chase at Ayr and 100-1 shot Dry Lightening pulled up in the Onibury Maiden...

What action is being taken?

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The sport's ruling body said it had identified yards that could have potentially been exposed today. Symptoms in non-immune animals include high fever, coughing and nasal discharge.

'Unlike thoroughbreds, the wider horse population in Britain is not vaccinated against equine flu.

Following the British Horseracing Authority's announcement that racing is suspended in Britain because of equine influenza and consultation with the IHRB Board, Veterinary Committee, Irish Equine Centre and HRI overnight, the IHRB confirm these decisions in the context that at present within Ireland the disease risk status in racing Thoroughbreds has not yet changed. Trainers are being sent a contact number should they have further questions, and they are advised to contact their vets with any further concerns. "There is a code of practice for dealing with infectious diseases on the website of the National Trainers Federation". "The results from those tests will not be known until this evening".

"I remember back in 2001 when there was an incident of foot and mouth disease and Cheltenham Festival was postponed". It is likely that any definitive decisions on whether racing can take place tomorrow will be taken later this evening'.

"We're very fortunate in this country that our [racehorse] population is vaccinated against equine influenza", Dunshea said, "but we're still trying to understand what particular strain of equine influenza this is".

'Therefore an important barrier is in place to prevent the same situation occurring here. However, as we have seen in Europe, the virus has affected vaccinated horses in this case.

"This is a wider horse health issue, which is not confined to horseracing".

"We've been told that the chances of this affecting our runners from yesterday is very remote but we can't take any chances whatsoever and those horses that went to Ayr will be quarantined as long as they have to be. While the BHA is not specifically responsible for non-racehorses, the general advice to owners would be to contact your vet if you have concerns".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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