105608893 racing - Equine flu: British horse racing to resume after shutdown over virus
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Equine flu: British horse racing to resume after shutdown over virus

Horses at Simon Crisford’s Newmarket stables – one of two yards with infected animals

Horse racing in Britain will resume on Wednesday after a six-day shutdown following an outbreak of equine flu.

Two scheduled jump racing fixtures will go ahead at Musselburgh and Plumpton, alongside the all-weather fixtures at Southwell and Kempton.

Racing was suspended after three cases of equine flu at Donald McCain’s Cheshire stables. Three further cases were later reported at his yard.

A total of 174 racing stables had been placed in lockdown.

Trainers will be assessed before they are given the all-clear to have runners, while five races called off during the shutdown have been rescheduled.

The decision to resume racing in a “controlled, risk-managed manner” was unanimously supported by an industry veterinary committee, said the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).

“Clearly there is some risk associated with returning to racing,” said the BHA’s chief regulatory officer Brant Dunshea.

“This risk has been assessed and, based on the evidence – and ensuring biosecurity measures are in place – the level of risk is viewed as acceptable.”

Fears there would be an extended suspension of racing, and a potential impact on next month’s Cheltenham Festival, were raised when a second outbreak, involving four vaccinated horses, was confirmed late on Sunday at trainer Simon Crisford’s Newmarket yard.

But no further positive results were found after thousands of samples were analysed.

While equine influenza is not unlike human flu – with typical symptoms including a cough and high temperature – it limits the competitive capability of racehorses.

More to follow.

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