Paul Nicholls: Praying that equine flu 'nightmare' will be over by Wednesday
Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls reveals the extent of the equine flu outbreak on his yard and admits the cancellation of all UK racing has been 'mortifying' with some of his horses in top form...
"We are so strict on hygiene in the yard in every possible way. We vaccinate twice a year in September and at the start of the year. I am praying that the current nightmare will be over on Wednesday and everything will return to normal."
I share the frustration of every trainer in the country that we cannot run our horses at the moment while the BHA continues its investigation into equine flu that has brought a halt to UK racing.
The moment I heard the news early on Thursday morning, I moved our two runners at Ludlow the previous day to an isolation yard we use on the edge of the village for horses that come here from France and elsewhere. We had a team of vets here this morning swabbing every single horse in the yard as part of the BHA plan to check on well over 100 training yards.
But it didn't prevent us working all the horses as normal and we will be doing the same tomorrow.
They look great, are fit and well and want to be running but obviously they will not be going anywhere in the next few days which is maddening for us and for every other trainer in the same boat.
Clearly the BHA had to act swiftly late on Wednesday and it is not surprising that more cases have come to light this afternoon when you consider that thousands of horses have been tested by their vets over the past day or so. But I am keeping everything crossed that racing will be back on track on Wednesday with no more meetings lost.
Imagine if you took swabs from 120 children in a school. There will always be two or three with coughs and sniffles, particularly at this time of year, though, of course, that doesn't mean they have flu. It is exactly the same with a yard like ours with 120 horses. At any one time at any stage of their careers we will have one or two have with runny noses. It is something we live with all the time and manage.
We are so strict on hygiene in the yard in every possible way. We vaccinate twice a year in September and at the start of the year. I am praying that the current nightmare will be over on Wednesday and everything will return to normal.
Mortifying to lose weekend cards
We had massive chances this weekend at Newbury and Musselburgh and it is mortifying to lose those cards at a time when our horses are in top form and plainly in the best of health.
It is difficult for trainers to plan ahead at the moment and if there is a further delay before a resumption of racing then there will hardly be time to give a run to horses that need an outing before the Cheltenham Festival.
We should know more early next week.