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Bookmakers back BHA as United Kingdom racing suspended

Bookmakers back BHA as United Kingdom racing suspended

"Of course we do not want a more extended period without racing, but the BHA must act in the interests of equine welfare, a William Hill spokesperson said".

It also impacted the New South Wales racing and breeding industries for eight months, costing close to a billion Australian dollars to eradicate.

Asked whether the meeting could potentially be salvaged and re-staged, Thick added: "I think it's too early to say at this time".

The four-day Cheltenham Festival, the fourth most attended sporting event in Britain which attracts over 320,000 visitors, is due to start on March 12.

I asked Lee how different this outbreak was compared to the Foot and mouth outbreak of 2001 which brought a halt to the Cheltenham festival that year. "The festival isn't for five weeks and we hope that the BHA's early actions will resolve this matter quickly".

The swiftness with which the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) reacted to three cases of equine flu being confirmed in horses trained by Donald McCain on Wednesday night will surely aid their cause greatly.

Equine influenza is highly contagious and can be airborne over reasonable distances as well as transmitted indirectly - and also via people - so there is a sense that unnecessary risks are being taken by continuing to race on these shores.

He revealed he had been concerned about the health of a few of his string for a "couple of days" and his prompt action was praised by the BHA.

That means more tests and more swabs are needed. There is as yet no evidence of widespread infection, however we will continue to monitor this situation closely.

"This is a serious form of flu that debilitates horses, who are at the centre of our sport".

"The full extent of potential exposure is unknown, and we are working quickly to understand as much as we can to assist our decision-making".

Symptoms of the equine influenza flu are coughing, nasal discharge and a fever, but it's not normally fatal, with horses usually remaining infectious for up to ten days.

If tests are found to be clear, Cheltenham can breathe a huge sigh of relief and racing will be back on by the end of next week.

"Horses from the infected yard have raced today at Ayr and Ludlow, potentially exposing a significant number of horses from yards across the country and in Ireland". Tens of thousands of horses can be affected by one outbreak.

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