Three more from McCain yard diagnosed with equine flu

Doncaster racecourse

All racing has been cancelled in the United Kingdom on Thursday after one stable returned three confirmed Equine Influenza positives from vaccinated horses.

I always thought it was a long shot that racing would start again next Wednesday and, despite the BHA insisting that is still possible, it is surely even less likely now the number of Donald McCain's horses with equine flu has increased to six.

Ayr and Ludlow confirmed the BHA had ordered a "level 2 deep clean" which requires the racecourses to disinfect all facilities where horses were prepared pre- and post-racing.

He said, "We've been into plenty of yards today and the swabbing work is continuing throughout today and this evening".

"We are grateful to trainers and veterinarians for the rapid flow of information and feedback we have received", the BHA said.

Given our geographical closeness, perhaps Irish authorities should have followed suit, even if a few racing meetings were lost as a result.

An outbreak of highly contagious equine flu means all horse racing has been cancelled until next week.

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This process will continue over the coming days in order that an informed and evidence-based decision can be made on Monday as to whether racing can return on Wednesday.

The last time the National Hunt festival was cancelled was during the foot and mouth crisis in 2001.

Under the rules of racing, Irish horses in training must be vaccinated for equine influenza, a disease which shows symptoms ranging from increased temperature, coughing, nasal discharge, being off feed, and more severe respiratory signs.

Thurles staged the only meeting in Ireland as scheduled on Thursday, and runners from Britain will not be permitted to race in Ireland until further notice. With McCain-trained horses running in Britain this week that potentially exposed a significant number of horses from yards across Britain and in Ireland.

Despite this, racing at Chantilly in France did go ahead under "protection measures" on Thursday, the governing body France Galop issuing a six-point caution to all horse racing personnel.

According to the BHA "It is the most potentially damaging of the respiratory viruses that occur in United Kingdom equines and disease symptoms in non-immune animals include high fever, coughing and nasal discharge".

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