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A view of a horse sign at the the gallops in Newmarket.
A view of a horse sign at the the gallops in Newmarket.
Image: Joe Giddens

Quick action and 'war-room of vets' can restrict equine flu effects, racing chief insists

British Racing boss Nick Rust is confident of avoiding a long-term shutdown.
Feb 8th 2019, 10:50 AM 2,250 2

BRITISH HORSE RACING bosses are confident they can avoid shutting down the sport for months, thanks to their measures to battle an outbreak of equine flu. 

Racing will not return in Britain until Wednesday at the earliest, as tests are carried out to determine whether the virus has spread beyond Donald McCain’s yard.

British Horseracing Authority chief executive Nick Rust says a war-room of vets and prompt action can avoid a potential ‘three to six-month problem’.

“We’ve got to get a hold of it quickly,” he said on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today. 

“If we play Russian roulette with the evidence we’ve got, we could have a problem for three to six months – and no one would thank us for that.

“This is a serious form of flu which can debilitate horses. The welfare of our horses is really paramount, above all economics.

“First and foremost, we have no sport without healthy horses.”

The Cheltenham Festival is, of course, little over a month away and would be be postponed or cancelled if the outbreak isn’t contained. 

“The worst fears are that we don’t contain it quickly,” Rust said.”But by taking the action we have over the last couple of days – we’re effectively locking down the movement of racehorses, instructing trainers to take extra special precautions – we’re fairly confident we will manage to restrict it.

“But until we know the complete extent over the next few days of the distribution of the virus, we won’t know exactly where we are.

Source: Racing Post/YouTube

“We have a ‘war-room’ – we have 20 vets employed at the BHA, forensic investigation, a lab in Newmarket that is processing hundreds of tests now. Once we know whether there has been a spread (of infection) there or not, we will be in a much better position to know where racing is.”

Following a tough Six Nations opening defeat to England, Joe Schmidt will look to regroup against a dangerous Scotland side. This week, Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey are joined by Bernard Jackman to assess the damage of last weekend and look ahead to the clash in Murrayfield:

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Adrian Russell


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