Horse racing resumes after Cheshire equine flu outbreak

By Reanna Smith

British horse racing resumed yesterday (13th January), after a suspension due to outbreaks of equine flu that began in Cheshire.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced the ban on racing across the UK  last week after it was confirmed that three horses at trainer Donald McCain’s yard in Cheshire had contracted the virus.

Races return with extra precautions being taken to prevent the virus from spreading. Horses will now have had to been vaccinated against the flu within the past six months, rather than the past year.

Brant Dunshea, Chief Regulatory Officer for the BHA, said: “The BHA is operating a risk model which identifies the level of potential exposure at each yard in order to determine which yards – and in some cases individual horses – are identified as safe to run. These controls were identified as absolutely necessary in order to permit a return to racing. A small number of individual trainers may be inconvenienced as a result of this until they are cleared to race, but in order to ensure an entirely level playing field it would have been necessary to place the entire sport on hold for at least seven more days.

Racegoers were concerned about the impact the outbreak could have on this year’s Grand National, held at Aintree racecourse, but have now been reassured that the event will still go ahead as planned.

Trainers and horse racing fans took to twitter to express their relief over the news that races would start again.


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