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Racing ban won't affect future plans

Andrew Balding had his say on the outbreak of equine flu

Liam Headd

Liam Headd

liam.headd@newburynews.co.uk

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Racing ban won't affect future plans

KINGSCLERE trainer Andrew Balding doesn’t believe that the recent outbreak of equine flu will have a long-lasting damage on the industry.

Horseracing in Britain was suspended on February 7 after six cases of equine flu were discovered at Donald McCain’s stables in Cheshire.

And with racing put on lockdown for six days – with 174 stables affected – Balding admitted that the correct measures had been made.

He said: “It was an alarming reaction to what happened, but I think it was the right one as we needed to see what we were dealing with and how we could contain it to just two stables.”

Despite preparations being halted while the outbreak was being dealt with by the British Horseracing Authority, Balding doesn’t believe it will change much.

“We obviously missed the opportunity to run some horses last week, but, to be honest, it’s not really a busy time for us,” he said.

“It’s more damaging to the jump yards, but I don’t think it’ll have long-lasting damage as long as it’s contained within the two yards where it has been found.”

Newbury Racecourse had to cancel their meeting during the six-day shutdown, which meant the prestigious Betfair Super Saturday couldn’t take place.

Balding said: “It’s a great shame for Newbury, but that meeting has been lost in the past due to bad weather, so it’s not unique.

“I imagine they are insured when it comes to losing a meeting, but it was a shame to lose it because it was an important one for the diary.”

The two featured races that were due to take place at Newbury on Saturday were the Betfair Hurdle and the Denman Chase.

With these being preparation for the Cheltenham festival, they will be added to Saturday’s meeting at Ascot.

The BHA lifted the ban on racing in Britain earlier this week, with racing allowed to resume on Wednesday.

And with the recent outbreak, Balding was keen to ensure this wouldn’t happen again.

He said: “We’ll take advice from the vet in terms of what flu vaccines we use going forward, but we’re fairly meticulous about the vaccinations and the timings of them.

“Hopefully we can carefully monitor the horses.

“We take temperatures on a daily basis, but we want to monitor the horses as much as we can so we can react if there are symptoms.”

The 46-year-old has a number of horses in action over the next few days at Chelmsford, Lingfield and Newcastle.

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