Equine flu positive tests up to six, all from Donald McCain's yard, with one suspicious case elsewhere

February 08, 2019

The BHA has confirmed six horses from Donald McCain's yard have now returned positive tests for equine flu, including one that ran on Wednesday, and there is a further suspicious case.

Racing in Britain has been cancelled until next Wednesday, at the earliest, after the initial three positive tests returned by horses from McCain's Cheshire yard.

One of those - Raise A Spark - finished last of four in his run at Ayr but showed no clinical signs on the day - his positive equine flu test was returned on Thursday.

The BHA confirmed there had also been one more suspicious case - not yet a positive test - reported from another yard who had runners at Newcastle on February 5 and Wolverhampton on February 6.

As a result, a further 54 yards who had runners at those meetings have been placed on hold with testing of their horses to be initiated.

A BHA statement read: "Of the samples that have been returned so far, three further positive results for equine influenza have been reported, all from the original affected yard.

"This means that in total six positive tests have been returned from the horses tested so far from this yard.

"Of the four horses from this yard who competed at fixtures this week, one has returned a positive sample so far - Raise A Spark, who competed at Ayr on February 6. The test on this runner relates to a sample taken the following day, and the horse showed no clinical symptoms on raceday.

"It was in anticipation of this risk that the decision was taken by the BHA to restrict movement of horses on a precautionary basis at the yards of 120 other trainers who competed at these fixtures, and to suspend racing until Wednesday at the earliest.

"This action was taken to mitigate the impact of any of the runners which competed at these fixtures being found to be infected by the virus.

"A separate suspicious case - which has not yet been confirmed as a positive sample - has been identified at another yard. No links have been identified between this yard and the original yard.

"This yard had runners at the fixtures at Newcastle on 5 February and Wolverhampton on 6 February, and as such the BHA has taken the further precautionary steps of placing all 54 yards of trainers who also had runners at these fixtures on hold and initiating testing of horses from these yards.

"The BHA is working closely with the Animal Health Trust in order to manage the logistical challenge of providing sufficient swabs and handling the volume of tests being sent through the facility, considering that testing of a total of 174 yards is now taking place.

"It will not be possible to test every horse from every yard before the end of the weekend, but we will work with trainers to identify any priority or risk horses and ensure that they are tested. This will all form part of the picture that is built in order to assist the decisions that will be made on Monday."

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