BHA confirms 'risk-managed' return to racing after equine flu breakout

By Sports Desk February 11, 2019

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced racing will resume on Wednesday following a meeting with the veterinary committee.

Last Thursday, all meetings were cancelled until at least February 13 following an outbreak of equine flu, with the BHA fearful the disease could spread.

Doubts about the resumption of racing were raised on Sunday following the news of four positive tests from Simon Crisford's stables in Newmarket.

However, the BHA announced a "risk-managed return" will take place on Wednesday following a consultation with its veterinary committee and taking into account the latest tests conducted by the Animal Health Trust.

The BHA's chief regulatory office, Brant Dunshea, said: "Our approach since hearing about the first positive results last Wednesday has been based on accumulating as much information as we could as quickly as possible so we could properly understand the risks of this virulent strain of flu spreading to more horses.

"That would be harmful to them and damaging to any trainers' yards that became infected.

"It has also been our intention to ensure that we avoid an issue that could result in a long-term disruption to racing with the risk of many of our major events being unduly impacted.

"After analysis of thousands of samples, and no further positive tests on Monday, we still only have two confirmed sites of infection. We have put robust containment measures in place around both.

"From the testing and analysis conducted the disease appears to be contained at present.

"The BHA veterinary committee believe that the swift controls on movement that were put in place have clearly helped to restrict the spread of this virus.

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

Two scheduled jump meetings at Musselburgh and Plumpton will consequently go ahead, as will all-weather fixtures at Southwell and Kempton.

The BHA's statement added: "As part of the controlled return, the BHA has developed a risk framework which allows us to categorise individual trainers by the level of risk they have been exposed to. 

"The ability of runners to return to racing from those yards will depend on the risk categories the yards are placed in.

"We are finalising overnight which category individual trainers will currently be placed in."

Related items

  • Money Magnet claims Eileen Cliggott Memorial Trophy Money Magnet claims Eileen Cliggott Memorial Trophy

    Barbadian jockey Simon Husbands aces another trophy race at Jamaica’s Caymanas Park and Caribbean trainers Saffie Joseph Jnr. and Rohan Crichton land added-money wins at Gulfstream Park in Florida.

  • Veteran jockey David 'Scorcher' Mckenzie becomes oldest ever winner at Caymanas Park Veteran jockey David 'Scorcher' Mckenzie becomes oldest ever winner at Caymanas Park

    At 69-years-old David 'Scorcher' Mckenzie becomes oldest ever winner at Sabina Park.

  • BHA confirms no further cases of equine flu as testing continues BHA confirms no further cases of equine flu as testing continues

    The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has confirmed there have been no more cases of equine flu as the Animal Health Trust (AHT) continues to carry out testing.

    Earlier this week, the BHA took the decision to cancel all horse racing in Britain until next Wednesday while measures were taken to prevent the disease spreading throughout the nation.

    On Saturday, the BHA released an update to announce that more than 700 samples had been examined by the AHT, which returned no positive results on top of the six already identified from the yard of Donald McCain.

    The AHT has received approximately 2,100 nasal swabs with thousands more expected to be tested over the coming days.

    "We are very grateful to all those trainers whose horses may have come into contact with those from the infected yard for working so rapidly with us and the Animal Health Trust to test their horses," said the BHA's director of equine health and welfare David Sykes.

    "There are many more tests to analyse and the nature of the incubation period means that a negative test now does not mean that horse has never had this flu virus. So these yards continue to remain locked down and their horses kept under observation.

    "Though hundreds of tests have been completed already, there are many hundreds more to be analysed over the weekend before we will have a fuller picture. The nature of disease control means that if a positive did emerge elsewhere, that could lead to more yards being locked down.

    "I would advise against anyone drawing any conclusions or making any predictions based on this set of results. Our focus remains on containing the virus through the strict adherence to biosecurity measures we are seeing across the industry."

    A decision on the programme of upcoming race meetings will be made on Monday.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.