Paddy Power is backing racing in the UK to return within a fortnight – despite a potentially devastating outbreak of equine flu in the UK
Horse racing in the UK was shut down on Thursday after three vaccinated horses in Aintree Grand National winning trainer’s Donald McCain’s yard, were found to be carrying the disease.
Racing at Thurles goes ahead as planned this afternoon, but the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has barred horses travelling to Ireland for the moment. A decision on whether Friday’s action or the weekend’s cards, where Newbury is set to host the Betfair Hurdle, is due to be made on Thursday evening.
And with the Cheltenham Racing Festival just over a month away, thoughts have immediately turned to when the March showpiece was lost to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease back in 2001.
But Paddy makes racing to return in the UK a 1/5 shot by February 18; 6/1 that it returns from February 18 to Feb 28 inclusive and 5/1 we gallop along from March 1st or afterwards.
A spokesman for Paddy Power said:
‘We don’t expect any big decisions to be made on the hoof and the authorities have experience of how to deal with these situations.’
A major outbreak of equine flu in Australia in 2007 led to the cancellation of the Sydney Spring Carnival. However, racehorses in Australia had not been vaccinated, so their immunity was far lower than it is likely to be the case in the UK.
What is equine influenza?
Equine flu or horse flu, is a highly contagious respiratory infection. An infected horse will show clinical signs similar to those of human flu and will be infectious for about a week. Tens of thousands of horses can be affected by one outbreak. It’s highly contagious and can be transmitted through the air and by humans. Although rarely fatal, it can have a huge impact on competition and breeding, due to restrictions of horse movement.
*Information & prices correct at time of publishing as this is a very fluid market