Monday, we start at Taunton. The feature race went to Touch Kick for Paul Nicholls. At Chelmsford, the finale went to John Gosden with Gantier. At Wolverhampton, the feature race went to Hathal for Jamie Osbourne an excellent purchase at the October sales. It was good news for our members. Hathal was advised to our members (2pts win) at 10/3.
Tuesday, we start at Market Rasen. Corinto was on target for Olly Murphy and Richard Johnson. At Newcastle, Executive Force took the feature.
Wednesday, we start at Ayr there was a treble for Gordon Elliott with Galvin, Veinard and Arion Sky. There was a sting in the tail for Elliott who was hit with a £3,000 fine for schooling in public. The stewards were not happy with Henry Brooke’s ride on Braid Blue, who finished a nine-length fifth to Galvin. The stewards judged that Brooke could not be seen to have asked for a “timely, real and substantial effort to obtain the best possible placing”. Brooke was suspended for 14 days and Braid Blue prevented from running for 40 days. Glittering Love continued his upward curve by taking the novice chase.
At Ludlow, Bonza Girl made it five wins on the spin. It was good news for our members Bonza Girl was advised to our members (1pt each way) 6/1. I was impressed with Miranda for Paul Nicholls who took the juvenile hurdle. At Kempton, an old rival of our own Mokhalad Fuiwart won having been well backed. At Wolverhampton, Documenting took the feature race.
On Wednesday evening it was announced all race meetings at all British racecourses have been canceled on Thursday due to an outbreak of equine flu. The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) made the decision on Wednesday evening after the Animal Health Trust confirmed three positives tests from vaccinated horses in an active racing yard. The horses from the infected yard had raced earlier in the day at Ayr and Ludlow, potentially exposing other horses across the country and in Ireland to the disease. The BHA said in a statement that the identification of the virus in vaccinated horses presented a “cause for significant concern”.It added: “The action to cancel racing has been viewed as necessary in order to restrict, as far as possible, the risk of further spread of the disease.
“The BHA has worked quickly to identify which yards could have potentially been exposed today and identify the further actions required.“The BHA is presently communicating with yards potentially exposed to ensure appropriate quarantine and biosecurity measures are put in place and horse movements restricted to avoid possible further spread of the disease.“The full extent of potential exposure is unknown and we are working quickly to understand as much as we can to assist our decision-making.”The action to cancel Thursday’s races was taken with the unanimous support of the BHA’s industry veterinary committee and will affect meetings at Huntingdon, Doncaster, Ffos Las, and Chelmsford. Equine influenza is a highly infectious disease of horses, mules, and donkeys. Symptoms in non–immune animals include high fever, coughing, and nasal discharge.
Thursday, only one show in town Thurles. The feature race went to Moratorium for Gordon Elliott. There was a winner for Jessica Harrington with Polished Steel who bolted up having been unlucky last time out. It was good news for our members. Polished Steel was advised to our members (1pt each way) 7/2.
There will be no racing in Britain until February 13 at the earliest, the British Horseracing Authority has announced. An outbreak of equine flu has caused a six-day shutdown, with racing’s rulers set to make a further assessment on Monday as to when racing can resume. News broke late on Wednesday evening that the virus had been detected and Donald McCain confirmed on Thursday that he has three confirmed cases in his yard.
Friday we start at Dundalk. It was yet another brilliant night for Joseph O'Brien with a treble. The treble was completed by Numerian, The Game Of Life and Chess Grand Master. I think Chess Grand Master could make a useful stayer.
On the equine flu front. Three further horses from the yard of Donald McCain have tested positive for equine flu, including Raise A Spark, who ran at Ayr on Wednesday, the British Horseracing Authority has announced. A “separate suspicious case” — not yet confirmed as a positive sample — has been identified at another yard. Raise A Spark finished last of four in an extended two-mile handicap chase won by Gordon Elliott’s Veinard. Three positives were already known from the McCain stable. Of the additional three cases, Raise A Spark is the only one to have run this week. In a statement on Friday afternoon, the BHA said: “The test on this runner relates to a sample taken the following day, and the horse showed no clinical symptoms on race day. “It was in anticipation of this risk that the decision was taken by the BHA to restrict movement of horses on a precautionary basis at the yards of 120 other trainers who competed at these fixtures, and to suspend racing until Wednesday at the earliest.“This action was taken to mitigate the impact of any of the runners which competed at these fixtures being found to be infected by the virus.
Saturday, we start at Naas. There was a double for Joseph O'Brien. The graded novice hurdle went to Band Of Outlaws. The double was completed by Eviscerating in the handicap hurdle.
On the Equine flu front, The British Horseracing Authority officials have announced no new positive cases of equine influenza — including those from Rebecca Menzies’ yard — have been detected among more than 700 so far processed. In an update on Saturday afternoon, the BHA reported the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket found “no further positive samples” following the six previously detected at Donald McCain’s stable. Under the header ‘latest information’, the BHA’s statement read: “The AHT has informed the BHA that it has received approximately 2,100 nasal swabs and tested and reported on 720. So far, other than the six at the yard of Donald McCain already identified, there have been no further positive samples returned.“This includes the swabs taken from horses at the yard of Rebecca Menzies. One horse — which tested negative — had previously been identified as suspicious and high risk after testing at a different laboratory.“All these horses will remain under close surveillance, analysis of tests from the yard is ongoing — and testing of the suspicious horses will be repeated.”
Sunday, we start at Punchestown. I was in attendance. Dounikos gained his first win in more than a year as he gave trainer Gordon Elliott back-to-back victories in the Boylesports Grand National Trial Handicap Chase. Sinoria put her assured stamina to good use when continuing her upward curve with a game success in the I.N.H Stallion Owners EBF Novice Hurdle. All roads lead back to the Cheltenham Festival for veteran Josies Orders after he went one better than 12 months ago in the P.P Hogan Memorial Cross Country Chase. Officials at the British Horseracing Authority are planning to make a decision on Monday evening as to whether racing can resume this week following the six-day shutdown due to an outbreak of equine flu.