Musselburgh Racecourse marks the resumption of UK racing with free entry for all racegoers at tomorrow’s (Wednesday 13th February) meeting.
The East Lothian course, along with Plumpton, Kempton and Southwell, got the green light to race from the British Horseracing Authority who lifted a six day ban on all racing following an outbreak of equine flu.
Musselburgh Racecourse general manager, Bill Farnsworth (pictured), said: “Due to weather related issues and the flu situation we have not raced for more than a month, so we are glad to get back to business. Free entry for all will be a welcome incentive to our regular racegoers and we appreciate their support and that of the owners and trainers over this period.”
Racing gets underway at 2.20pm with the Betway Mares’ Maiden Hurdle, the first of six races and gates open at noon.
Free courtesy coaches in association with Lothian Coaches will take racegoers from Newcraighall and Wallyford rail stations to the racecourse and return.
For further information please visit www.musselburgh-racecourse.co.uk
BHA to schedule additional opportunities for horses missing out on key prep races due to essential vaccination requirements
The BHA has announced it will schedule additional alternative races to assist trainers in their preparation for upcoming major festivals for horses that may miss out on essential prep or qualifying runs in the coming 10 days owing to the new vaccination requirements.
The additional opportunities will be scheduled on or around the weekend of 23th February, in order that horses which require vaccinations over the coming days will be eligible to run. Like all other British races they will only be available to horses who have been vaccinated within the last six months.
It was agreed that, if racing was to return, there should be stringent biosecurity measures put in place to protect the welfare of the horses and reduce the chance of further disruption. The sport is taking a measured risk by returning to racing this quickly, and for that risk to be deemed manageable then it was necessary that protective measures should be put in place. This includes the fact that horses that have not been vaccinated in the last six months should not be allowed to run. Put simply – without this there would be no racing. It could open the sport up to an unacceptable level of risk.
The science is unequivocal that vaccines help reduce the effect and spread of equine influenza. This was a view that was stated by Dr Richard Newton – the Animal Health Trust’s world-leading expert in this field – and supported unanimously by the experts on the veterinary committee.
Trainers had been advised on 25th January that, due to the concerning situation in Europe where outbreaks have occurred in vaccinated horses, and an unprecedented number of cases in unvaccinated non-thoroughbreds in Britain, all horses which have not had a vaccination against equine influenza within the last six months should receive a booster vaccination.
Because there is a six-day mandatory stand down period following vaccination, which is a welfare measure on behalf of the horse, some horses who were not subsequently vaccinated will not be able to run for a short period. However, to ensure a level playing field it would have been necessary to cancel all racing for a further period of at least a week. Hence, the BHA will schedule more races to help make up the difference.
The BHA stated: “The BHA is committed to the return to racing whilst minimising the risk of equine influenza spreading further within the sport, causing further disruption. This is our main priority. We recognised in making the decision last night that some participants could be disadvantaged and we are doing what we can to mitigate that without compromising the management of the outbreak.”