BHA confirms a ‘risk-managed return’ of horse racing
The British Horse Racing Authority (BHA) announced late on Monday that a ‘risk-managed return’ of all races will commence from Wednesday. All races were called off last week after confirmed cases of equine flu.
The BHA consulted with its veterinary committee, who conducted tests together with the Animal Health Trust, before announcing the news. The BHA’s chief regulatory officer, Brant Dunshea, confirmed that racing would resume, albeit with strict biosecurity measures put in place.
There are four festivals scheduled to now go ahead on Wednesday. These are at Musselburgh, Plumpton, Southwell and Kempton.
Risk measures will be put in place to decide which horses and trainers may feature and trainers will be categorised by the level of risk that they have been exposed to. Further, horses that have not been vaccinated in the last six months will not be allowed to race.
Speaking about the decision, Dunshea said:
After analysis of thousands of samples, and no further positive tests on Monday, we still only have two confirmed sites of infection. We have put robust containment measures in place around both. From the testing and analysis conducted the disease appears to be contained at present. The BHA veterinary committee believe that the swift controls on movement that were put in place have clearly helped to restrict the spread of this virus. Clearly, there is some risk associated with returning to racing. This risk has been assessed and, based on the evidence – and ensuring biosecurity measures are in place – the level of risk is viewed as acceptable.–Brant Dunshea, BHA chief regulatory officer
The news is music to the ears of the industry and bookmakers. Operators stand to lose millions for every week that racing in Britain is cancelled. Some estimates place the losses bookmakers experience at £2m per day.
The ban was issued last Wednesday after it was discovered that a number of horses infected with the flu had featured in races at Ayr and Ludlow racetracks.