There were meant to be race cards at Huntingdon, Doncaster, Ffos Las and Chelmsford City today but all have been cancelled.The British Horseracing
There were meant to be race cards at Huntingdon, Doncaster, Ffos Las and Chelmsford City today but all have been cancelled.
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) made the decision after the finding of the influenza.
Three cases were found in vaccinated horses from an active yard, with the horses competing at Ayr and Ludlow on Wednesday.
That potentially exposed others from yards across the country and in Ireland, the BHA said in a statement.
“The fact that the cases have been identified in vaccinated horses presents 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,” the BHA said in a statement.
“The BHA has worked quickly to identify which yards could have potentially been exposed today and identify the further actions required.
“The BHA is presently communicating with yards potentially exposed to ensure appropriate quarantine and biosecurity measures are put in place and horse movements restricted to avoid possible further spread of the disease.
“The full extent of potential exposure is unknown and we are working quickly to understand as much as we can to assist our decision making.”
It’s not the first outbreak of equine flu this year.
Since the start of 2019, there have been seven outbreaks across the country.
There are no known consequences for humans associated with exposure to the disease though it is a highly infectious disease that affects horses, mules and donkeys.
The cancellation today comes despite guidance being sent to racehorse trainers advising that all horses that have not had a vaccination to receive a booster.
BBC Sport horse racing pundit Frank Keogh has been left worried as to how long it will take for races to start again.
He wrote: “This news, which broke late on Wednesday night, has rocked horse racing at a time when anticipation is building before next month’s showpiece Cheltenham Festival meeting.
“It is unclear at this stage whether other fixtures may be affected, with the ‘Super Saturday’ meeting at Newbury in Berkshire on 9 February the next high-profile fixture.
“While the equine flu outbreak may be able to be contained, it will naturally cast minds back to this time 18 years ago when foot-and-mouth disease decimated the racing programme.
“The BHA will be hoping swift action can limit the effect of equine flu, but officials are naturally concerned these cases involve vaccinated horses.”