Following Tuesday’s equine influenza update and fixture rescheduling, the British Horseracing Authority and Animal Health Trust continued to work through the night until 1 p.m. Wednesday in order to clear as many runners as possible for Wednesday’s four fixtures. Of 195 confirmed declarations, 12 horses from 10 yards have been withdrawn as a precaution from Wednesday’s action due to the BHA not receiving notification in time for that horse or yard to be considered free of the equine influenza virus. Five of the 12 had been withdrawn at the time of Tuesday’s update, with the other seven being marked as non-runners with the reason given as “other”. Among those affected were trainers who had runners at the Feb. 6 Ayr fixture where an infected horse had competed.
David Sykes, Director of Equine Health and Welfare for the BHA said, “The teams at the BHA and AHT are working round the clock to analyse tests and clear horses to run. The controls that we have put in place were deemed as necessary to avoid unnecessary risk of spreading the virus and were a pre-requisite in the decision to allow racing to return. Without these measures, and the new six-month vaccination rule, we would not have been able to resume racing today.
“We appreciate that this means some trainers will miss out in the very short term, but the only alternative would have been to keep the entire sport on hold. We are working swiftly to get test results processed and clear trainers to run. We’re grateful for the patience and understanding our trainers are showing for this essential process.”
The process for Thursday’s declarations is being handled in the same manner, as the BHA checks through Wednesday’s declarations to see if any runners need to be withdrawn or require further test results to be received before clearance is given.
Beginning on Thursday, the declarations procedure will return to normal, returning to a 48-hour declaration process for Flat races. Declarations for Saturday, Feb. 16 Flat races will start at 10 a.m. local time on Feb. 14.
Also on Wednesday, four horses from Simon Crisford’s stable that had tested positive for equine influenza have now returned negative results, the Newmarket trainer revealed on Twitter. The BHA announced on Sunday night that four cases had been identified in vaccinated thoroughbreds at Crisford’s Kremlin House. Now, much to Crisford’s relief, the affected horses appear to be clear.
“Good News,” Crisford tweeted. “All four horses who had previously tested positive for flu have now returned negative results. Further testing to take place next week.”
In another positive development on Wednesday evening, The BHA cleared all trainers who had runners at Ayr on Feb. 6 excluding Donald McCain.
“All 22 trainers who had runners at Ayr and were awaiting results are now cleared to run after a discussion between BHA and its vet committee,” the BHA tweeted. “All horses who ran at Ayr returned negative tests and the majority of other horses from those yards were also tested and all found negative. This excludes the yard of Donald McCain owing to the fact that horses in this yard have tested positive for the virus.”