Friday, February 08, 2019

Racing suspended

A Stephen Fry quotation on the book jacket of The Rugby Pocket Bible by Ben Coles reads:

"Rugby is the most exciting sport man has ever created."

Now, I wouldn't necessarily want to agree with Mr Fry on that one but following an outbreak of equine flu that has resulted in the cancellation of all British racing until Wednesday 13th February at the very earliest, I guess we may have to make do... That said, racing goes ahead in Ireland and ITV4 has committed to televising five live races from Naas tomorrow. 

On Wednesday evening Donald McCain was informed that three horses had tested positive for equine influenza at his stables in Cholmondeley, Cheshire; it has been reported this afternoon a further three horses from the yard have tested positive, including Raise A Spark who ran at Ayr on Wednesday.

The worry is that even though all racehorses are routinely vaccinated against this highly contagious virus, an outbreak has still occurred.

McCain's runners at Wolverhampton on Monday and Ayr and Ludlow on Wednesday could have potentially infected other runners at those meetings. The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has acted swiftly and placed those yards in 'lockdown'; nasal swabs are being carried out on horses at affected yards and being sent away for analysis.

In addition, earlier this afternoon it was confirmed a suspicious case had been identified at a separate yard which had runners at Newcastle on February 5th and Wolverhampton on February 6th; as a result an additional 54 yards have also been placed in lockdown.

Below is the latest alphabetical listing of trainers I think are affected by lockdown, with a cross reference to the meeting(s) where they had runners.

(A) = trainer with runner(s) at Ayr 06.02.19
(L) = trainer with runner(s) at Ludlow 06.02.19
(N) = trainer with runner(s) at Newcastle 05.02.19
(W1) = trainer with runner(s) at Wolverhampton 04.02.19
(W2) = trainer with runner(s) at Wolverhampton 06.02.19

Alexander N (A)
Appleby C (W1)
Appleby M (W1)
Appleby M (W2)
Bailey A (W1)
Barclay S (N)
Baugh B (W1)
Bell M (N)
Berry J (L)
Bethell J (N)
Bishop F (W2)
Botti M (W1)
Bowen M (L)
Bowen P (L)
Boyle J (W2)
Bradley M (W2)
Brisland R (W1)
Brisland R (W2)
Brittain A (N)
Brooke J (A)
Burke K (N)
Burke K (W2)
Camacho J (N)
Carr J (A)
Carr R (N)
Carroll T (W1)
Carroll T (W2)
Channon M (W2)
Charlton R (W2)
Christie D (L)
Clarke K (W1)
Collins V (L)
Coltherd W (A)
Crawford S (A)
Crisford S (N)
Crook A (A)
D’Arcy P (W2)
Dalgleish K (N)
Dalgleish K (W1)
Dalgleish K (W2)
Daly H (L)
Dascombe T (W1)
Dascombe T (W2)
Davies S (L)
Dennis D (L)
Dobbin R (A)
Duffield A (W2)
Duncan I (A)
Easterby M (N)
Eddery R (W1)
Edmunds S (A)
Egerton L (A)
Egerton L (N)
Elliott G (A)
Ellison B (N)
England S (A)
Eustace J (W2)
Evans D (W1)
Evans D (W2)
Evans H (L)
Fahey R (N)
Fahey R (W2)
Fanshawe J (N)
Feilden J (W2)
Fell R (W2)
Fife M (W1)
Flint J (L)
Forster S (A)
Fox J (W1)
Frost K (W2)
Frost T (L)
Fry H (L)
Furtado I (N)
George T (L)
Gillard M (L)
Given J (N)
Goldie J (N)
Greenall O (A)
Griffiths D C (N)
Griffiths D C (W2)
Groucott J (L)
Guest Rae (W2)
Guest Richard (N)
Hales A (L)
Hamilton A (A)
Hannon R (W1)
Hannon R (W2)
Harris R (W1)
Harris R (W2)
Harris S (W1)
Haslam B (N)
Henderson N (L)
Herrington M (N)
Herrington M (W1)
Hobbs P (L)
Hobson C (L)
Hollinshead Sarah (W1)
Hollinshead Steph (L)
Hughes J (W1)
Jardine I (A)
Jardine I (N)
Johnston M (W1)
Keightley S (W1)
Kellett C (W2)
Keniry S (N)
Lacey T (L)
Lee K (L)
Lloyd-Beavis N (W1)
Longsdon C (L)
Loughnane Daniel (W2)
Loughnane David (W1)
Loughnane David (W2)
McBride P (W1)
McCain D (A)
McCain D (L)
McCain D (W1)
McCaldin C (A)
McEntee P (N)
McLintock K (N)
McNally R (A)
Menzies R (N)
Menzies R (W2)
Midgley P (N)
Moore J S (W2)
Morgan K (A)
Morrison H (W1)
Mulholland N (W1)
Murphy A (W2)
Murphy O (L)
Murphy O (W1)
Nicholls P (L)
Nolan S (A)
Normile L (A)
Norton J (W1)
O'Brien F (L)
O’Keefe J (N)
O’Meara D (W1)
O’Meara D (W2)
O'Neill J (L)
O’Neill J (W2)
O'Shea J (L)
O’Shea J (W1)
O’Shea J (W2)
Oliver H (L)
Osborne J (W1)
Pauling B (L)
Pears O (N)
Phillips R (L)
Prescott M (N)
Price K (L)
Ralph A (L)
Ralph A (W1)
Reed T (A)
Richards N (A)
Riches J (N)
Russell L (A)
Ryan K (N)
Sayer D (A)
Scott G (N)
Scott J (L)
Scott K (A)
Shaw D (W1)
Shaw D (W2)
Skelton D (L)
Smith R M (N)
Spencer R (L)
Spiller H (W2)
Stephens R (W1)
Symonds T (L)
Tate J (W1)
Thompson D (W1)
Tizzard C (L)
Todhunter M (A)
Turner W (L)
Twiston-Davies N (L)
Tylicki M (N)
Varnham R (L)
Waggott T (N)
Wainwright J (N)
Walford M (N)
Wallis C (W1)
Wallis C (W2)
Watson A (W1)
Watson A (W2)
Welch H (L)
Whillans D (A)
Wigham M (N)
Williams E (L)
Williams I (L)
Williams I (W1)
Williams S (W1)
Williams V (L)
Williamson L (W2)
Wilson N (N)
Wingrove K (W1)

In what appears a rapidly developing situation, hopes of a return to action next Wednesday are starting to look increasingly slim.


Anonymous said...

I agree with Nigel Twiston-Davies in that I think the BHA might be over reacting.

The quotes from Newmarket Equine Vet Pete Ramzan in the RP:-

I think it’s fair to say that for the time being vets and trainers are happy to go along with these measures, but I can't quite see where they're leading. To some degree it looks an overreaction and isn't necessarily justified by the circumstances, given flu is endemic in the UK.

The BHA takes advice from experts, but as a clinician at the coalface, dealing with respiratory disease on a daily basis in racing yards, it seems as if the measures put in place do not match the threat to British racehorses or racing.

If a new strain of flu is going to break through the excellent vaccination protocols already in use in most yards, history tells us it will happen regardless of these measures, as flu is far less containable than other more serious diseases like strangles or neurological herpes virus.

The UK thoroughbred population is probably one of the best vaccinated group of animals on the planet, but just as in people we should expect ‘bad’ flu years from time to time, and we're probably overdue one. Perhaps we're on the cusp of just such a year, although this is by no means certain at this early stage.

If so, we can expect some poor-performing yards and more respiratory disease than usual, but as with previous episodes it will pass, vaccines will get updated and we’ll then have another extended period of relative health in the population.

I can understand a degree of nervousness on the part of the regulator, who have to be seen to be doing the right thing, and it's understandable it wishes to find out more, but this can be achieved through surveillance swabbing without mandating a shutdown of racing or of individual yards.

Trainers by and large use their common sense and nobody chooses to send sick horses to the races.


GeeDee said...

Hi TW,

On balance, I thought the BHA made the right call in the first instance but, slowly, I'm coming around to the viewpoint expressed above. To paraphrase NTD - with its adopted stance, the BHA is now in some considerable danger of boxing itself into a corner with little room for manoeuvre.

Of course, the vaccinated thoroughbred population of c. 20,000 is a very small proportion of the total horse population of the country, the majority of which is unlikely to have been be vaccinated.

With some tests results due on Monday, we should at least have a clearer picture of how well the outbreak has been contained.

On ITV Racing earlier today Luke Harvey suggested we'd miss a couple of weeks and then racing would resume; perhaps that's the way it'll all pan out.

GeeDee said...

Saturday evening 09.02.19

Racing Post reports that the Animal Health Trust (AHT) has analysed 720 of of approximately 2,100 nasal swabs and no new cases of equine flu have been detected:

No new positive cases of equine flu found

GeeDee said...

Update Monday afternoon 11.02.19

Four horses at Simon Crisford's yard in Newmarket have returned positive tests for equine influenza.

The ban on British runners in Ireland has been lifted with immediate effect.

The BHA are to make an announcement on the resumption of racing in Britain this evening, but not before 10.30pm at the earliest.

GeeDee said...

Tuesday morning 12.02.19

Racing returns tomorrow (13.02.19) with jumps meetings at Plumpton and Musselburgh and all-weather cards at Southwell and Kempton.

The BHA has confirmed that at present two yards are identified as infected - those of Donald McCain and Simon Crisford.

Whilst admitting there is a risk in returning to racing, the BHA has quantified this risk as 'acceptable'.

Anonymous said...

It’s great that racing has been given the green light.

Though in introducing the new 6-month vaccination rule with immediate effect is another faux pas by the BHA; it should have been rolled out gradually.

Still, on to Super Saturday!