In a video released by the British Racehorse Association (BHA), Chief Executive Nick Rust defends the decision to permit racing to go ahead despite the worries from trainers and horse-owners regarding the prevalence of equine influenza in the UK.
As announced last night, the BHA has decided to put an end to the industry hiatus from the sport following the outbreak of equine influenza.
Rust points out: “We are trying to do absolutely the best thing to protect our horses, to protect racing. We did give alerts to all trainers on 19 January stating that this virus was out and about in Europe and indeed in the non-thoroughbred population in Britain.
“We gave a specific warning on the 25 January and on the advice that if the jabs for the flu were not up to date within the last six months, trainers should update those.
“We hoped that as many trainers as possible heeded that advice but it seems that some, for understandable reasons when horses are in mid-form have not done that, but they will need to do that now if their horses are to return to run.”
The decision comes alongside the announcement that the racing body intends to schedule additional alternative races to assist trainers in preparation for upcoming major festivals.
It is intended to help those with horses that may miss out on essential prep or qualifying runs in the coming 10 days owing to the new vaccination requirements.
The additional races will be scheduled on or around the weekend of 23 February, in order that horses which require vaccinations over the coming days will be eligible to run.
In line with the biosecurity controls put in place by the racing body, the races will only be made available to horses that have been vaccinated within the last six months.