Equine Flu Shock For UK Racing

Alicia Farmer
February 7, 2019

The action to cancel Thursday's races was taken with unanimous support of the BHA's industry veterinary committee and will affect meetings at Huntingdon, Doncaster, Ffos Las and Chelmsford.

The British Horseracing Authority released a statement on Wednesday, revealing a stable affected with equine flu had runners at Ayr and Ludlow earlier that day.

Racing is still set to continue in Ireland, where Thursday's meeting at Thurles took place, but no entries from British stables will be accepted until further notice.

Hose races have been cancelled all over Britain because it's come out that three horses in an active yard have been diagnosed with equine influenza.

It is one of four meetings across the United Kingdom scheduled today that have been cancelled by the British Horseracing Authority.

Equine Influenza is a highly contagious disease and is considered to be the most serious respiratory virus to occur in horses in the UK.

"Whilst no further positive tests have been received, at least three more days are required before it will be possible to make a decision about whether it is safe to resume racing".

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The BHA said in a statement that the identification of the virus in vaccinated horses presented a "cause for significant concern". 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 potential further spread of the disease.

Symptoms include coughing, a high-fever, and nasal discharge.

So what exactly is equine influenza, and why has it got so many people in the horse racing industry so anxious?

Ludlow is not due to host another meeting for another fortnight, but Wolverhampton Racecourse has cancelled Saturday's fixture and is offering full refunds or transfers for everybody who pre-booked.

The Animal Health Trust are working alongside the racing industry on the matter and a further update is expected later on Thursday.

"Key to our decision-making is understanding exactly the status of the horses that we know raced yesterday from the infected yard".

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