Horse racing in the UK will resume on Wednesday afternoon with four meetings scheduled to take place, great news for an industry which was hit with a week-long suspension following the discovery of equine influenza last week. The sport has been on hold since Thursday after Donald McCain’s yard was found to be infected with the virus.
The resumption of horse racing on Wednesday was announced by the BHA last night but there have been restrictions imposed as a precautionary measure. The decision to end the suspension in a risk-managed manner was unanimously applauded by all those connected with the sport including the leading bookmakers who have been hit hard by the ban.
Brant Dunshea, BHA Chief Regulatory Officer, said: After analysis of thousands of samples” and no positive tests on Monday, the disease is now contained. Although there are still two confirmed sites of infection, they are “contained at present”.
He added: “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.”
Two scheduled all-weather fixtures will take place on Wednesday at Kempton and Southwell while there will also be jump fixtures taking place at Plumpton and Musselburgh.
David Sykes, BHA Director of Equine Health & Welfare said: “The BHA and the veterinary committee agree that, on balance, the level of risk is acceptable for a return to racing.
“We have developed a risk model, which the veterinary committee support, in order to assist the return to racing.
“We will observe closely those horses who are taken to the racecourse and will intervene as a precaution to prevent a horse running or accessing a racecourse if we believe it might put other horses at risk of infection.
“The veterinary committee are of the view that an unprecedented amount of this disease has been identified in Europe. This is not a typical endemic period and it was essential that precautions be taken to protect the horse population.”