Trainers face a tense waiting game over outbreak

Edgcote trainer Ben Case
Edgcote trainer Ben Case

It’s going to be a tense few days for Banburyshire trainers as the outbreak of equine influenza takes its course.

No racing in Britain until Wednesday at the earliest following the confirmation earlier in the week that three horses at the yard of Donald McCain had tested positive for equine influenza. More than 100 stables were being tested on Friday morning to see if the virus had spread beyond McCain’s yard in Cholmondeley in Cheshire.

Wednesday would appear to be the very earliest day that racing will return in Britain but next weekend looks a more realistic date, although BHA chief executive Nick Rust suggests it could be weeks rather than days. At this stage there appears no threat to the Cheltenham Festival next month and I feel the BHA have acted swiftly and effectively to avoid a potential crisis and should be applauded for their swift response.

As a precaution, Edgcote trainers Alex Hales and Ben Case have restricted their gallops to in-house use only, with no outside horses being allowed to use them, a measure also taken by Chipping Norton handler Charlie Longsdon. But there is no suggestion that any of the yards in the area have been affected.