Today the racing world in the UK has received more bad news as four more horses have had positive tests for equine flu.
Many people myself included are now really starting to worry that the Cheltenham festival could be cancelled this year. (2019)
Cheltenham is the best time for Matched Betters
There are so many great free bets on offer throughout the festival that it’s a time when I’d expect to make somewhere approaching £1,000 just from matched betting. Also as I’ve just started Betfair trading it is undoubtedly the best festival for that as the “Liquidity” in the market is huge!
Read the Full British Horse Racing Authority article here
The horseracing community in Newmarket is tonight being informed that four positive tests for equine influenza have been returned this evening in vaccinated thoroughbreds at the yard of a licensed flat trainer in Newmarket.
The affected yard is that of Simon Crisford, who has been named in order to ensure that the Newmarket community is aware of the yard at which an infection has been identified. No non-urgent journeys should be made to this yard – including by the media – and anyone who wishes to travel to the yard is advised to first contact the trainer’s office.
This yard is one of the 174 which has been required to undergo testing due to the fact that runners from the stable competed at the fixture at Newcastle on 5 February, which had been identified as a potential risk fixture. At the moment the affected horses are all contained within this yard.
The Newmarket community – including licensed trainers, veterinary surgeries, farriers, racing school and all other relevant bodies – are being advised to continue to show increased vigilance in biosecurity. Full guidance is available through the NTF website:
This information is being relayed to the Newmarket community immediately in order to ensure that appropriate action can be taken ahead of any morning activities. The BHA will be in further contact with Newmarket trainers tomorrow morning.
A further update will be issued as early as possible tomorrow. This will include further details of action that is being taken off the back of this incident, and how the process will operate for the decision which will be made tomorrow evening regarding whether it is possible to resume racing on Wednesday 13 February.
Notes to Editors
1. The latest daily update, issued on Sunday 10 February, can be found here: https://bit.ly/2WTvkmU
Testing at licensed yards across the country is ongoing, with a view to quickly assessing and containing the potential spread of the highly contagious equine influenza virus which is affecting vaccinated horses.
The BHA is continuing to build a picture of the potential spread of the disease by testing as many horses as possible from potentially exposed yards. The data collected will help to build an evidence base which will allow a decision to be made on Monday as to whether racing can return on Wednesday 13 February.
The Animal Health Trust (AHT) has now received several thousands of samples and is working through the process of testing those samples. The latest update that has been provided to the BHA confirms that no further positive cases have been identified from the testing carried out yesterday. Owing to the volume of testing being carried out the AHT have not been able to provide a precise figure as to the number of tests carried out, but they are of the view that the numbers processed will be roughly equivalent to the 720 which were processed the previous day.
Amongst the samples that have been tested are those of the remaining 27 horses from the yard of Rebecca Menzies. All horses in this yard have now tested negative, though the yard will remain under close surveillance and further testing will be carried out.
Analysis remains ongoing with more swabs being returned all the time, and yesterday 5,000 extra swabs were distributed to trainers to assist with the logistical challenges of testing this many horses.
The AHT have also publicly confirmed that a non-thoroughbred, unvaccinated horse has sadly had to be humanely euthanized after having contracted the virus. This shows the threat posed by the disease in unvaccinated horses and the importance of biosecurity procedures and movement restrictions to contain the possible spread of the disease.
Equine influenza should not be confused with or compared to the common ‘bug’ that might impact some yards from time to time. It is the most potentially damaging of the respiratory viruses that occur in UK equines, and it can be particularly serious for younger horses, which is of particular concern with the breeding season about to start. Trainers are required under the rules to notify the BHA should a case of equine influenza be identified or suspected in their yard.
Return to racing
A pragmatic and evidence-led approach is being adopted in order to enable the BHA to make decisions on Monday as to whether racing can return on Wednesday 13 February. A prioritisation plan for testing is being adopted, which is based on the proximity of horses to a positive test, or to a yard returning a positive test. Swabs will continue to be collected and tested from other horses, but some are being fast tracked. Separately, a specific plan is being formed as to what the clearance process will be for individual yards to return to racing.
This process will remain ongoing through today and tomorrow with a view to sufficient evidence being gathered to make a decision on Monday evening as to whether racing can return on Wednesday. We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding that as much evidence as possible must be gathered prior to making a decision as to when racing can safely return.
Should racing be given the go ahead to return on Wednesday then declarations for all races would take place on Tuesday.
David Sykes, Director of Equine Health and Welfare for the BHA, said:
“The data is encouraging and provides a further indication that the precautionary safety measures have helped to contain the spread of disease. However, the picture is still developing and it remains the case that we will make an evidence-based decision about the situation on Monday.
“It remains paramount that, for the sake of our horse population, we do not take any unnecessary risks. This is not a common cold, it is a highly contagious and potentially serious disease.
“The prioritisation exercise with regards to testing will help deliver a detailed picture of the spread of infection. Targeted testing, alongside the wide survey of data we have already gathered, will help provide a clear picture as to the scale of the spread of the disease. Any decision will include guidance and input from veterinary experts, including the industry’s veterinary committee.
“We are also working through the process that will be followed in order to give specific yards the all clear to resume racing. This will balance the clear need for yards to resume business as soon as possible with ensuring that we do not put horses at the risk of unnecessary harm. We are liaising with the NTF and trainers on this process.”
As confirmed last night, the BHA and Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) have agreed to pay a contribution to owners or trainers for the costs incurred where the BHA has required samples to be taken, including the cost of the swabs and the veterinary fees involved. We are working on the exact details with the NTF and HBLB and will confirm the reimbursement policy and process as soon as possible, but it will be based on a fixed fee per horse sampled.
The BHA is extremely grateful to HBLB for their important support and contribution.
If you wish to check out the BHA website for more details see it here: BHA Website
Look I know it is highly contagious and all that but horses don’t die from it and it’s not dangerous to humans so I think they are being overly cautious with all of this. There are over a million horses and ponies in the UK but only 20,000 race horses. None of the other horses are being quarantined and vaccinated so I don’t see how you are ever going to totally stop it.
Anyway lets’ hope it gets sorted ASAP, because even though I’m being selfish for the money it’s costing me, imagine what it’s doing to the entire horse racing industry in the UK?