Equine Flu Hits The Home of Horseracing

Newmarket is the world's premier racing training site
Credit : Lulu Kyriacou

Monday 11 February - 01h13 | Lulu Kyriacou

Equine Flu Hits The Home of Horseracing

Less than a day after announcing that 720 horses had swabbed clean for equine flu, the British Horseracing Authority has confessed that four horses are now confirmed to be suffering from the virus in Newmarket, the home of British  racing and the world's premier training site.

The four positive tests are at the yard of Simon Crisford, who is based at Kremlin House right in the centre of the Suffolk town which has been a centre for the sport for nearly four hundred years.   His yard has  been identified in the the BHA statement because of the close knit nature of the community in Newmarket,  which is home to approximately 5000 racehorses. In addition to those, the town is surrounded by some of the world's leading stud farms, where the covering season will begin on February 15th  and some of the blue blooded mares have already foaled this year's offspring.  Foals cannot be vaccinated until approximately six months old and are therefore much at risk from  the infection,  which can be fatal in the very young.  In older horses it is debilitating but rarely deadly.  Amongst the stallions in the area is Frankel, rated the best racehorse ever and sire of the joint top rated horse of 2018, Cracksman.

​Racing has been cancelled since last Wednesday, in order to halt the spread of the infection, which was discovered at a Cheshire training yard. It is hoped that racing can recommence on Wednesday  13th February, assuming there are no further cases within racing. Currently, according to the Animal Health Trust, there are now 14 confirmed cases, ten of whch are in racing, in the two yards already mentioned.

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