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An outbreak of equine flu has sent the horse racing world into a panic to stop the infection from spreading.
Britain is to see horse racing come to a halt until at least February the 13th, after an outbreak of equine flu was identified on Wednesday evening.
On Wednesday the 6th February, an outbreak of equine flu was discovered. Later on in the week on Friday, three more horses from McCain’s yard were tested positive.
Many racing stables have been put in lockdown, including those of leading Welsh trainers as the British Horseracing Authority turns its focus to stopping the spread of infection.
All the horses have been restricted to their yards to reduce the chance of infection. The airborne infection is extremely contagious and can even be spread via human contact.
Owners are determined to avoid the dreaded equine flu and will only take the horses out of their yards once they know it’s safe to do so.
Horses can be infectious for around a week and following that it could take a few weeks for them to recover properly and for peak fitness to be restored.
One of the three horses tested positive on Friday was Raise A Spark, who raced at Ayr on Wednesday.
Monday is now the earliest possible date that a decision can be made about the resumption on horse racing. Point-to-points have also been cancelled.
As well as for the horses’ health, the flu is bad news financially for owners, trainers, jockeys and racecourses as no racing means no income. Bookmakers will also suffer but are able to promote other sports and overseas racing to fill the gap here in the UK.
Meanwhile, racing in Ireland is continuing.