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Equine flu confirmed at elite private school as outbreak spreads

14 February 2019

The equine flu virus that has brought horse racing to a standstill in Britain since Wednesday could have its roots in Ireland after it was revealed that two stables there have contracted the disease.

Racing in Britain was suspended last week after the Cheshire stables of trainer Donald McCain were hit with horses with the virus.

Crisford's stable had been identified for testing because he ran Sajanjl at Newcastle on February 5, a meeting which subsequently produced a "suspicious" but ultimately negative test for a runner from the Rebecca Menzies stable.

The BHA's statement confirmed United Kingdom racing would resume with scheduled jump fixtures on Wednesday at both the Scottish course of Musselburgh and the Plumpton track near Brighton in southern England, alongside all-weather racing at Kempton, southwest of London, and Southwell in the English Midlands.

Also on the card is the Betway Handicap Chase (for the Harry Dufosee Memorial Trophy); a race steeped in history, and held in memory of the late, great Harry Dufossee who played a pivotal part in ensuring racing continued at Wincanton after WWII by buying the land with a group of friends. "This risk has been assessed and, based on the evidence - and ensuring biosecurity measures are in place - the level of risk is viewed as acceptable", Brant said.

"The ability of runners to return to racing from those yards will depend on the risk categories the yards are placed in".

From the testing and analysis conducted the disease appears to be contained at present.

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The BHA issued a statement shortly before midnight GMT Monday in which it explained how racing would resume but "only with strict bio-security controls in place".

Media reports have estimated that the overall costs to racing will be in the region between £150m to £200m, with racing fixtures such as the Super Saturday at Newbury expected to cost bookmakers up to £2m a day.

The prospect of racing returning quickly has divided the sport and while there was some optimism after the positive results from the weekend, realistically many are expecting the ban to be extended.

"As long as they can fulfil that requirement, they are fine".

"Should the decision be taken to return to racing on Wednesday, declarations for any fixtures staged will be at 10am on Tuesday".

"The BEF continues to urge horse owners to be vigilant for symptoms of equine flu - coughing, nasal discharge, loss of appetite, lethargy - and call their vet if they think their horses are showing signs".

Equine flu confirmed at elite private school as outbreak spreads