Update regarding declaration process

13 Feb 2019 BHA Features Racing/Fixtures Welfare
  • Declarations to return to usual process as of tomorrow (Thursday 14 February) including 48-hour declarations on the Flat

Following an update at 5pm yesterday afternoon (https://www.britishhorseracing.com/press_releases/update-regarding-equine-influenza-procedures/) the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and Animal Health Trust (AHT) continued to work through the night in order to clear as many runners as possible to safely race at today’s four fixtures.

The teams at the BHA and Animal Health Trust worked through to 1pm today to allow as much time as possible to receive confirmation of test results and provide clearance for trainers and runners for today’s fixtures.

As a result, from 195 confirmed declarations, a total of 12 horses from 10 yards have been withdrawn as a precaution. This is because the BHA did not receive notification in time that the horse or yard is free of the equine influenza virus.

The 12 horses that were withdrawn includes the five which had already been withdrawn at the time of yesterday’s update. The remaining seven horses withdrawn subsequent to that update have been notified as non-runners with the reason “Other”. These trainers include those who had runners at the fixture at Ayr on 6 February where a horse who was infected with the equine influenza virus had competed.

The BHA is working with the affected trainers in order to explain what steps will be required in order to move their yards – or horses from their yards – to cleared status. The BHA needs to be sufficiently confident, through continued testing, that they can return to racing all the stables who had runners at Ayr. As a result, the Ayr yards will be given the all-clear as a group, not yard-by-yard. We are working with the Animal Health Trust which is carrying out the tests to achieve this as quickly as possible.

David Sykes, Director of Equine Health and Welfare for the BHA, said:

“The teams at the BHA and AHT are working round the clock to analyse tests and clear horses to run. The controls that we have put in place were deemed as necessary to avoid unnecessary risk of spreading the virus and were a pre-requisite in the decision to allow racing to return. Without these measures, and the new six-month vaccination rule, we would not have been able to resume racing today.

“We appreciate that this means some trainers will miss out in the very short term, but the only alternative would have been to keep the entire sport on hold. We are working swiftly to get test results processed and clear trainers to run. We’re grateful for the patience and understanding our trainers are showing for this essential process.”

The process for declarations for tomorrow (Thursday 14 February)’s races is working in the same manner, with the BHA again working through today’s declarations to see if any need to be withdrawn or require further test results to be received before clearance can be provided.

As of tomorrow, the declarations procedure will then return to normal. This includes a return to 48-hour declarations, and therefore trainers are advised that declarations for Saturday 16 February’s 48-hour decs races will take place at 10am on Thursday 14 February.