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Southwell Racecourse cancel races after outbreak of equine influenza

By Connor Thompson

Two races at Southwell Racecourse have been cancelled following the outbreak of equine influenza ­— a highly infectious disease.

British Horseracing Authority, the sports governing body, has postponed racing nationwide while test results of more than 100 stables await confirmation.

Symptoms of the equine influenza flu are coughing, nasal discharge and a fever, but it’s not normally fatal, with horses usually remaining infectious for up to ten days.

Southwell Racecourse. (4147460)
Southwell Racecourse. (4147460)

Southwell were set to host events today (February 8) and Sunday (February 10).

Mark Clayton, Executive Director at Southwell Racecourse said: "‘We can confirm that, following this afternoon’s announcement from BHA, that our fixtures on Friday 8 and Sunday 10 February will no longer go ahead.

"Customers who had booked tickets should contact the racecourse to organise an exchange or refund, as appropriate."

Mark said the decision to close the racecourse is part of a wider cancellation of all British racing fixtures, which are expected to return on February 13.

"We, along with the whole racing industry, will be guided by the BHA as to the next steps," he said.

"Cancelling racing will, of course, have a financial impact on the entire industry, but equine welfare and health are of paramount importance at this time."

The financial implications are yet to be confirmed, however, odds comparison website Oddschecker say £25m is staked on horse racing each day and so far, there has been a 83% drop in bets placed.

The BHA said: “While no further positive tests have been received, at least three more days are required before it will be possible to make a decision about whether it is safe to resume racing.

"The disease can take up to three days before symptoms are visible, meaning it will take until Sunday at the earliest before the BHA can gather all the information required.

“This approach will allow samples to be collected and assessed by the Animal Health Trust in order that a fully informed decision can be made on Monday.

"This may then allow declarations to take place on Tuesday in time for racing on Wednesday.”


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