TRAINER Ben Haslam has hit out at racing authorities for their handling of the flu crisis.
The Middleham-trainer sent swabs from his stable to be tested five days ago but has yet to find out the results from some horses.
Other stables have been given the all clear despite sending in their samples well after Haslam’s team delivered theirs to Newmarket.
It has forced the trainer to pull out his horses at the last minute ahead of racing, at great cost and following wasted journeys.
He said: “I am still actually waiting on clearance – it’s unbelievable, you couldn’t make it up.
“I sent three swabs down from our runners at Newcastle on Friday night. One of them came back (negative) yesterday, and I’ve been on the phone to them basically every hour since.
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“I asked yesterday lunchtime where the other two are. I’ve been told in the last half-hour that one of the other ones has been processed.”
The BHA has spelled out over the past week that it simply is not prepared to take any chances with the risk-management of its return to racing – starting at Musselburgh, Southwell, Plumpton and Kempton on Wednesday.
But Haslam is perplexed and frustrated at what he sees as ever-changing and confusing protocol.
“None of the horses (in any yards) that were tested from Newcastle have come back positive – and none of the three I had there have spiked a temperature since,” he said.
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“I think they need to use some commonsense – they have changed the protocol so many times, so frequently over the last 48 hours.
“They are fully aware of the two horses we need results from – we cannot do anything more. The swabs were driven down on Friday night.”
At the prospect of a possible two-runner contest at Musselburgh, Haslam said: “It will be a very unsatisfactory race, and some of the others may be as well.”
He still trusts that his swabs were on a fast-track list of sorts, sent from one of the 170-plus stables around the country which raced at certain fixtures last week and were therefore deemed in feasible danger of contamination after the positive tests on six horses from Donald McCain’s yard.
But he is at a loss to explain why he is still waiting for results, while others are not.
“The yards that had runners at those meetings, and were then in lockdown, should have been the priority,” said Haslam.
“I’m sure they will have been – but we seemed to get low down on that priority list.”
Iain Jardine had to pull out his two anticipated runners on Southwell’s all-weather card because he did not receive clearance in time.
The Dumfriesshire trainer as yet has “no idea” when it will be forthcoming.