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James Tate fear over if racing can resume this week

14 February 2019

The cancellation of race meetings raises significant concerns for United Kingdom bookmakers, as the blow to gambling income will subsequently result in the reduction of contributions paid to the industry via the betting levy.

British Horseracing Authority chief executive Nick Rust has defended the six-day shutdown and says it was necessary to get a "clear picture" of the equine flu outbreak.

However, following a period of extensive testing and after seeking the advice of a series of veterinary experts, the BHA gave the go-ahead for a resumption late on Monday - but with strict biosecurity controls in place.

BHA director of equine health and welfare David Sykes said the BHA and the veterinary committee agreed that, on balance, the level of risk was acceptable for a return to racing.

The number of cases at this stable has now risen to six. The BHA veterinary committee believe that the swift controls on movement that were put in place have clearly helped to restrict the spread of this virus.

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Four meetings can go ahead in Musselburgh, Plumpton, Southwell, and Kempton, the BHA said.

Earlier on Monday, the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board jumped the gun a bit by announcing that British horses could compete in Irish races provided they (a) are not from one of the infected yards, and (b) can prove they were vaccinated within eight weeks of the race.

It has also been our intention to ensure that we avoid an issue that could result in a long-term disruption to racing with the risk of many of our major events being unduly impacted.

Four Newmarket-trained horses have tested positive for the equine flu virus which has paralysed British racing since last week.

The British Horseracing Authority was yesterday deliberating on a resumption in the United Kingdom and tweeted late last night: 'This evening's veterinary committee meeting has been extensive in order to ensure that a thorough risk assessment has been carried out.

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The BHA will then review the declarations to ensure none are entered which do not meet risk criteria.

Both were placed under lockdown but racing has been allowed to continue in Ireland.

Media reports have estimated that the overall costs to racing will be in the region between £150m to £200m, with racing fixtures such as the Super Saturday at Newbury expected to cost bookmakers up to £2m a day.

The BHA is finalizing the risk categories in which to slot individual trainers and plans to inform trainers of their eligibility on Tuesday morning.

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James Tate fear over if racing can resume this week