It will be business as usual for Irish racing despite an outbreak of equine influenza forcing UK racing into lockdown until at least next week, according to HRI chief Brian Kavanagh.
Kavanagh acknowledges that confirmation of equine flu in three horses from Donald McCain’s UK yard is a “concern” but it won’t upset Irish activities with Thurles taking place as scheduled yesterday.
That’s a far cry from the situation in the UK where they were plunged into chaos late on Wednesday with details of the outbreak, which has resulted in the cancellation of all 23 meetings until next Wednesday.
High fever, coughing and nasal discharge are among the symptoms of equine flu, which is highly contagious and can be transmitted indirectly and also via humans but it is generally not life-threatening.
Leading trainers Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls were among over 100 UK stables which may have come into contact with infected horses and were put into lockdown yesterday with immediate effect.
British runners are also barred from entering Irish races but with racing continuing at Dundalk tonight, Kavanagh believes that there is no major threat to Irish racing or the Cheltenham Festival.
“There’s no reason for racing not to continue in Ireland and we’re hopeful that racing will get back going in the UK very quickly. Cheltenham is a long way away and is not a concern in that respect,” Kavanagh said.