Horse racing canceled in Britain over equine flu outbreak

Horse racing

This means that The Queen's horse, No Trumps, will no longer race at Lingfield next Tuesday.

Horse racing has been canceled in Britain until Wednesday Feb. 13.at the earliest, due to an equine flu outbreak.

The British Horseracing Authority said that no new positive cases have been received since it announced early Thursday (NZT) that three vaccinated horses in an active racing yard had flu.

"Just think what might happen how rapidly that could go through the horse population".

The Cheltenham Festival is a favourite occasion of some members of The Royal Family, including the Duchess of Cornwall, the Princess Royal and Zara Tindall who attend most years.

Yards potentially exposed have been urged to ensure appropriate quarantine and biosecurity measures are in place and horse movements restricted to avoid possible further spread of the disease.

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

Erring on the side of caution isn't the most popular move but the decision to immediately cancel racing at Huntingdon, Doncaster, Ffos Las and Chelmsford yesterday is to be admired in an attempt to the nip the problem in the bud.

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All racecourses that have had a McCain runner over the last three days have been requested to carry out a "deep clean" of their premises. Horses remain infectious for about a week. BHA procedures state that a racecourse can not race for at least four days following a deep clean having taken place.

Horses from the infected yard competed at Ayr and Ludlow on Wednesday, potentially exposing others from yards across the country and in Ireland, the BHA said in a statement. Labour MP Conor McGinn called on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to work with the racing industry on the issue as a priority during business questions to the Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom.

Potential risks are magnified given the amount of Irish runners overseas in recent days which could have come in contact with equine influenza.

Meanwhile, Donald McCain has confirmed that the three cases previously detailed came from his yard in Cheshire.

The virus can also be physically carried on equipment and vehicles.

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.

Equine flu is caused by a strain of the Influenza A virus, which infects both humans and animals.

A spokesperson for Defra said: "The disease is not notifiable in the United Kingdom and there's no public health risk".

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