THE prospects of racing resuming in the next few days were dealt a massive blow when four more horses tested positive for equine flu.
There must now be a real chance the shutdown – due an outbreak of the highly-contagious virus – will be extended.
The BHA are set to announce this evening whether Wednesday’s four meetings can go ahead after six blank days.
Worryingly, the latest positive tests came from horses based in Newmarket – the country’s biggest training centre. They are all from Simon Crisford’s stables.
The former boss of Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation is a Flat trainer. His last British runner was Sajanjil – only fourth when an odds-on favourite – at Newcastle on Tuesday.
A statement from the BHA read: “No non-urgent journeys should be made to this yard – including by the media – and anyone who wishes to travel to the yard is advised to first contact the trainer’s office.
latest in horse racing
“This yard is one of the 174 which has been required to undergo testing due to the fact that runners from the stable competed at the fixture at Newcastle on 5 February, which had been identified as a potential risk fixture. At the moment the affected horses are all contained within this yard.
“The Newmarket community – including licensed trainers, veterinary surgeries, farriers, racing school and all other relevant bodies – are being advised to continue to show increased vigilance in biosecurity.”
There had been encouraging signs over the weekend when around 1,500 samples taken from horses potentially at risk of infection had come back clear.
The latest positive tests come from horses in stables 170 miles from the original outbreak at Donald McCain’s Cheshire yard.
With the Cheltenham Festival just four weeks ago it was the news everyone in racing was dreading.