British racing cancelled because of flu

British racing cancelled because of flu

The decision that British horses should be barred from entering Irish races was deemed "a prudent step in the short term" by the IHRB's Dr Lynn Hillyer as the risk to disease in Irish thoroughbreds was unchanged.

We are working quickly to identify the extent of the infection and will have more information when further test results are returned today.

Only two events have cancelled the Cheltenham Festival in the past; the 2001 foot-and-mouth crisis, and the second World War.

Equine influenza is highly contagious and can be airborne, and horses which ran at both Ayr and Ludlow on Wednesday have been found to be infected.

BHA will make a decision on Monday about whether racing can resume next Wednesday.

"If you're to ask me again about Cheltenham I hope to be completely definitive then". The welfare of our horses is really paramount above all economics.

North/South racing and transport of horses is unaffected.

Raise A Spark is one of three fresh cases of EI identified at McCain's Bankhouse Stables following tests on the trainer's entire string on Thursday.

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Although rarely fatal, it can have a huge impact on competition and breeding due to restriction of horse movements.

Donald McCain's yard was the only one represented at both tracks.

The Grand National, the world's greatest steeplechase, is due to take place in Liverpool on April 5 and could also be under threat if the disease is not brought under control.

Bettingexpert.com has estimated the current cancellations will end up costing the horse racing industry up to £100 million.

Cases of equine influenza had been reported in recent weeks, originally in France but spreading to Ireland and Britain.

While all British racehorses are vaccinated against equine influenza, this strain has affected vaccinated horses. All horses that compete in United Kingdom racing events are required to be vaccinated. Humans are not at risk from the virus although they can carry and transmit it.

The East Lothian fixture featured eight races with £160,000 in prize money and a huge crowd was expected to attend until the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) imposed the ban.

He added, "Typically, Jockey Club Estates are bending over backwards to help us and are making it very feasible for the trainers involved to get their horses exercised while having no contact with any of the other strings".

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