No new positive equine flu cases but BHA plays safe on end to lockdown

No new positive equine flu cases but BHA plays safe on end to lockdown

British racing had better news about the equine flu outbreak which has brought the sport to a standstill when the British Horseracing Authority reported no new positives tests.

That included a “suspicious case” involving three horses trained by Rebecca Menzies at Howe Hills near Sedgefield, County Durham. 

The animals had appeared to be showing symptoms and had triggered the “lockdown” of a further 54 yards on Friday. However, the trainer was informed that all three had returned a negative test result for equine flu.

The Animal Health Trust, which is working through the weekend, had received 2,100 nasal swabs and tested and reported on 720. So far, however, other than the six horses in Donald McCain’s Cheshire yard, there have been no positives.

With two-thirds of the samples yet to be tested, racing is not out of the woods, and the BHA reiterated it would be wrong to speculate whether racing would be able to resume, as hoped, on Wednesday. That decision is still due to be made on Monday when significantly more results are in.

“There are many more to analyse, and the nature of the incubation means that a negative test does not mean that a horse has never had this flu virus,” said David Sykes, the BHA director of equine health and welfare.

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