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Saturday 16
February

Horse Racing

Quick response key for BHA

8th February 2019, 11:34 by Gareth Freeman

The British Horseracing Authority hopes their quick response will stop equine flu from shutting British racing down for months.

Racing in Britain has been cancelled for six days following confirmation of three positive cases at Donald McCain's yard, meaning there will be no meetings until next Wednesday at the earliest.

There are fears the Cheltenham Festival could be at risk although BHA chief executive Nick Rust feels quick action will prevent the issue being a long-term problem.

Speaking on ITV's Good Morning Britain, Rust said: "We've got to get a hold of it quickly. If we play Russian roulette with the evidence we've got, we could have a problem for three to six months - and no one would thank us for that.

"This is a serious form of flu which debilitates horses. The welfare of our horses is really paramount, above all economics. First and foremost, we have no sport without healthy horses."

Rust concedes the BHA do not yet know the full extent of the problem but is confident they have the right plans in place.

He added: "The worst fears are that we don't contain it quickly. But by taking the action we have over the last couple of days - we're effectively locking down the movement of racehorses, instructing trainers to take extra special precautions - we're fairly confident we will manage to restrict it.

"But until we know the complete extent over the next few days of the distribution of the virus, we won't know exactly where we are.

"We have a 'war-room' - we have 20 vets employed at the BHA, forensic investigation, a lab in Newmarket that is processing hundreds of tests now.

"Once we know whether there has been a spread [of the infection] there or not, we will be in a much better position to know where racing is."

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Gareth Freeman is an experienced journalist who can offer in-depth knowledge on a host of sports, especially football, tennis, snooker and basketball.

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