Tue, 12 Feb 2019
THE British Horseracing Authority announced late on Monday evening that a risk-managed return to racing will take place from February 13.
Horse Racing was halted last week due to an outbreak of equine flu, but after recent tests up and down the country, the BHA’s Chief Regulatory Officer, Brant Dunshea, confirmed that racing could return.
A statement from Dunshea read:
“Our approach since hearing about the first positive results last Wednesday has been based on accumulating as much information as we could as quickly as possible so we could properly understand the risks of this virulent strain of flu spreading to more horses. That would be harmful to them and damaging to any trainers’ yards that became infected.
“It has also been our intention to ensure that we avoid an issue that could result in a long-term disruption to racing with the risk of many of our major events being unduly impacted.
“After analysis of thousands of samples, and no further positive tests on Monday, we still only have two confirmed sites of infection. We have put robust containment measures in place around both.
“From the testing and analysis conducted the disease appears to be contained at present. The BHA veterinary committee believe that the swift controls on movement that were put in place have clearly helped to restrict the spread of this virus.
“There have been significant logistical issues associated with testing and processing so many tests in such a short space of time. Fortunately, owing to the tireless efforts of the Animal Health Trust, trainers and their local vets, and BHA staff, the vast majority of yards which had been placed on hold will be in a position to resume racing.
“Clearly, there is some risk associated with returning to racing. 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.”
This means racing on Wednesday at Musselburgh and Plumpton will go ahead along with meetings at Southwell and Kempton.
However, it has been announced that the Betfair Hurdle and the Denman Chase - both which were due to take place at Newbury last weekend - have been moved to Ascot on February 16.