Horse racing at Doncaster cancelled due to equine flu outbreak

EI outbreak halts British racing

UK racing cancelled over EI scare

"We are grateful to trainers and veterinarians for the rapid flow of information and feedback we have received", the BHA said.

Only two events have cancelled the Cheltenham Festival in the past; the 2001 foot-and-mouth crisis, and the second World War.

"This precautionary approach is meant to ensure we put the health of the horse population and control of the virus first, and avoid any unnecessary risk that might come from returning to racing too quickly".

I then asked Lee how serious this could be for this year's festival.

Responding to the news, Newbury's chief executive Julian Thick said: "We're clearly disappointed, it's a major race meeting for us, but horse welfare comes first".

North/South racing and transport of horses is unaffected.

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.

"When I first heard the news, like everyone else, my thoughts turned to the Cheltenham Festival, our sport's FA Cup Final, and how very bad it would be for so many people if it was put in jeopardy", ITV racing presenter Ed Chamberlin told Reuters.

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All fixtures were called off on Thursday by the BHA and one of the UK's leading trainers, Donald McCain confirmed the horses came from his Cheshire stables. With McCain-trained horses running in Britain this week that potentially exposed a significant number of horses from yards across Britain and in Ireland. At least 23 races will not take place in the next week.

Bettingexpert.com has estimated the current cancellations will end up costing the horse racing industry up to £100 million.

Last night the IHRB - formerly the Irish Turf Club - issued a statement detailing that they and Horse Racing Ireland had agreed that racing will continue in Ireland at present but runners from Britain will not be permitted until further notice.

While all British racehorses are vaccinated against equine influenza, this strain has affected vaccinated horses.

Horse racing across the United Kingdom has been banned today, Thursday, in a bid to stop the spread of a serious disease. It is highly contagious. "It's similar to humans - but they get over it".

A spokesperson for Defra said: "The disease is not notifiable in the United Kingdom and there's no public health risk".

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) has released notes of the latest update from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) on Friday 8th February.

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