Equine flu: Irish racing continues but without British runners

Thurles racecourse
Thurles racecourse in County Tipperary is hosting a meeting on Thursday

Racing in Ireland is set to continue but runners from Britain will not be permitted until further notice because of the outbreak of equine influenza.

The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board and Horse Racing Ireland released a joint statement confirming Thursday's meeting at Thurles, and all others scheduled in Ireland, will take place.

"As an interim precaution, we have decided that runners from Britain will not be permitted to run in Ireland in an effort to reduce the risk of further spread of the disease," they said.

Following consultations between the IHRB board, the Veterinary Committee, HRI and the Irish Equine Centre, the belief is that the risk to disease in thoroughbreds in Ireland has not changed.

The statement added: "The BHA's rapid communication last night (Wednesday) enabled the IHRB to contact and advise those trainers who had runners at Ayr and Ludlow yesterday to take appropriate steps to isolate the horses before they returned into their yards and so minimise the potential risk of further spread of the disease in Ireland."

However, there have been "isolated" cases of equine influenza in Ireland over the last couple of weeks.

The statement went on: "As an interim precaution, the IHRB and HRI have decided that runners from Britain will not be permitted to run in Ireland in an effort to reduce the risk of further spread of the disease via horse movement."

Gordon Elliott had five runners at Ayr on Monday, with three of them winning.

But he was contacted in time so that they did not return to his main yard, and they are currently in an isolated stable block some 25 minutes from the rest of his string.

A decision on whether racing takes place in Britain on Friday is not expected until Thursday evening, giving the BHA time to gather further results and samples.

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