Racing to resume tomorrow


Racing will resume in Britain on Wednesday, following a six-day shutdown because of the outbreak of equine influenza, the British Horseracing Authority has announced.

As such the BHA has confirmed that two scheduled Jump fixtures will go ahead at Musselburgh and Plumpton on Wednesday Feb. 13, alongside the All Weather fixtures at Southwell and Kempton.

"Clearly, there is some risk associated with returning to racing, said BHA chief regulatory officer Brant Dunshea in the governing body's statement".

"What we are comfortably satisfied with is that we have got sufficient measures in place to understand what has happened with the disease and how to contain and control it".

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.

"Clearly", he continued, "there is some risk associated with returning to racing".

The BHA will then review the declarations to ensure none are entered which do not meet risk criteria.

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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. The statement read, "We are finalising overnight which category individual trainers will now be placed in".

Trainers including Nigel Twiston-Davies and Colin Tizzard have questioned the BHA strategy, and prominent owner Dai Walters claimed they had "lit a fire they can't put out".

Speaking at a press conference in London on Tuesday morning, he said: "The decision last week was taken with a set of circumstances that suggested to us that we should lock down racing for several days so we could have a clear picture of the circumstances around the outbreak".

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.

All racing has been off since Thursday while the BHA tests horses nationwide. Obviously, by definition, they will only be coming from yards which aren't under restriction from the BHA.

"All horses at Kremlin House Stables, totalling 92 boxes, undergo a strict vaccination check and programme on their arrival".

"All four identified horses have been vaccinated within the last six months along with the rest of the yard and in line with vaccination protocol".