Equine flu: The show goes on in Ireland but British runners barred

By Andy Stephens@StevoGG
Thu 7 Feb 2019

Racing will continue to take place in Ireland but runners from Britain will not be permitted to take part.

The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board and Horse Racing Ireland made the announcement on Thursday morning after the outbreak of equine flu in Britain.

Racingtv.com also understands, via presenter Nick Luck, that the Emirates Racing Authority has suspended imports of UK-based runners until further notice.

The impact of British-trained runners not being allowed to run in Ireland over the coming weeks is negligible as it’s highly unlikely trainers would have made any entries.

However, runners from these shores not being allowed to take part at the richly endowed Dubai Carnival would undoubtedly impact on British trainers, especially if the ban extends to next month’s two prestige meetings – Super Saturday and Dubai World Cup itself.

After consultations between the IHRB board, the Veterinary Committee, HRI and the Irish Equine Centre overnight the belief is that the risk to disease in thoroughbreds in Ireland has not changed.

The statement read: “The BHA’s rapid communication last night enabled the IHRB to contact and advise those trainers who had runners at Ayr and Ludlow yesterday to take appropriate steps to isolate the horses before they returned into their yards and so minimise the potential risk of further spread of the disease in Ireland.”

However, there have been “isolated” cases of equine influenza in Ireland over the last couple of weeks.

The statement went on: “As an interim precaution, the IHRB and HRI have decided that runners from Britain will not be permitted to run in Ireland in an effort to reduce the risk of further spread of the disease via horse movement.”

Gordon Elliott had five runners at Ayr on Monday, with three of them winning. But he was contacted in time so that they did not return to his main yard, and they are currently in an isolated stable block some 25 minutes from the rest of his string.

A decision on whether racing takes place in Britain on Friday is not expected until Thursday evening, giving the BHA time to gather further results and samples.

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