Declarations process for Thursday 14 Feb & important info re overnight/early racecourse arrivals

Please see the BHA notices below in relation to:

– The declarations process for fixtures on Thursday 14 February.

– Requirements in relation to horses requiring overnight racecourse stabling, or which will arrive at the racecourse more than 4 hours prior to the first race. These requirements will apply to fixtures on Thursday 14 February and will continue until further notice.

DECLARATIONS PROCESS FOR RACES ON THURSDAY 14 FEBRUARY

Declarations for  races scheduled for Thursday 14 February should be made by 10am on Wednesday 13 February. Please be aware that we are following the same process and timetable as was used on Tuesday 12 February, so therefore we will retain the adaptations made in relation to  declarations for Thursday:

  • The trial of transparent declarations in place for Flat races will be suspended for Thursday’s fixture but the number of declarations in each race can still be viewed on NRAS.
  • No races to be staged on Thursday 14 February will be re-offered.
  • List of provisional declarations will not be posted and the official release of declarations for Thursday’s racing is expected to be at 1.30pm.
  • Jockey bookings for Thursday will be accepted until 2.15pm on Wednesday 14 February

Once we have been able to complete the analysis and processing of test samples we will return to normal racing administration activity.

IMPORTANT NOTE RE OVERNIGHTERS/EARLY ARRIVALS AT FIXTURES FROM THURSDAY 14 FEBRUARY AND BEYOND

Trainers declaring horses for any races on Thursday 14 February and for all races after that date and until further notice, should be advised of the following requirements for “overnighters” (horses arriving at the racecourse on the day(s) prior to raceday and which require overnight racecourse stabling accommodation), or any horses arriving more than 4 hours prior to the FIRST race.

In line with the new equine influenza requirements, we need to check the vaccination status of all horses before they can be unloaded. For overnighters and early arrivals, the process is slightly different. If you have a horse going to the racecourse overnight or arriving more than 4 hours before the first race, you must first email a copy of the following documents to: overnighters@britishhorseracing.com

The trainer of, or Responsible Person for, overnighters and early arrivals must submit this documentation prior to arrival. It needs to be checked in advance, as horses cannot be unloaded or permitted entry to the stables until this process has been completed.

Racing to resume on Wednesday 13 February

11/02/2019 @ 23:15:00

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) tonight announced a risk-managed return to racing will take place from Wednesday this week.

After consultation with its veterinary committee, and based on the latest tests conducted by the Animal Health Trust, the BHA’s Chief Regulatory Officer, Brant Dunshea, tonight confirmed that racing could resume, but only with strict biosecurity controls in place.

This decision to return racing in a controlled, risk-managed manner was unanimously supported by the industry veterinary committee.

Brant Dunshea said:

“Our approach since hearing about the first positive results last Wednesday has been based on accumulating as much information as we could as quickly as possible so we could properly understand the risks of this virulent strain of flu spreading to more horses. That would be harmful to them and damaging to any trainers’ yards that became infected.

“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.

“After analysis of thousands of samples, and no further positive tests on Monday, we still only have two confirmed sites of infection. We have put robust containment measures in place around both.

“From the testing and analysis conducted the disease appears to be contained at present. 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.

“There have been significant logistical issues associated with testing and processing so many tests in such a short space of time. Fortunately, owing to the tireless efforts of the Animal Health Trust, trainers and their local vets, and BHA staff, the vast majority of yards which had been placed on hold will be in a position to resume racing.

“Clearly, there is some risk associated with returning to racing. This risk has been assessed and, based on the evidence – and ensuring biosecurity measures are in place – the level of risk is viewed as acceptable.”

As such the BHA has confirmed that two scheduled Jump fixtures will go ahead at Musselburgh and Plumpton on Wednesday 13 February, alongside the All Weather fixtures at Southwell and Kempton.

Return to racing

As part of the controlled return, the BHA has developed a risk framework which allows us to categorise individual trainers by the level of risk they have been exposed to. The ability of runners to return to racing from those yards will depend on the risk categories the yards are placed in.

We are finalising overnight which category individual trainers will currently be placed in. The BHA will contact trainers tomorrow morning to inform them of their category and eligibility to run.

Declarations

Trainers who hold entries for Wednesday are advised to declare at 10am on Tuesday. Confirmed declarations will not be issued to the media, betting organisations and data customers until 1:30pm. In this period the BHA will review all declarations to ensure none have been declared which do not meet the risk criteria.

Please note declarations for Thursday’s Flat All Weather meetings will now be at the 24 hour stage.

Biosecurity measures

In addition to the risk factors outlined above, and as an interim measure, the BHA has ordered that no entries or declarations will be accepted from horses that have not been vaccinated [for equine influenza] in the previous six months. Trainers are advised to check current vaccination records before declaring tomorrow morning. In addition, all trainers will be required to provide a health declaration upon arrival at a racecourse.

The BHA’s Director of Equine Health and Welfare, David Sykes said:

“The BHA and the veterinary committee agree that, on balance, the level of risk is acceptable for a return to racing.

“We have developed a risk model, which the veterinary committee support, in order to assist the return to racing.

“We will observe closely those horses who are taken to the racecourse and will intervene as a precaution to prevent a horse running or accessing a racecourse if we believe it might put other horses at risk of infection.

“The veterinary committee are of the view that an unprecedented amount of this disease has been identified in Europe. This is not a typical endemic period and it was essential that precautions be taken to protect the horse population.”

Rescheduling of races

In preparation for a return to Racing the BHA’s Racing department has identified a number of key Jump races which should be rescheduled. The identified races are based on their place in the Pattern and races which provided essential opportunities.

The following races have been rescheduled:
Races rescheduled
Full race conditions will be circulated tomorrow and a further review will take place of any gaps that have been caused at all levels of the race programme with a view to adding in additional race or fixtures as required.

A similar exercise will also commence for Flat races in the coming days.

About the Veterinary Committee       

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA)’s Veterinary Committee advises on all veterinary matters affecting racing and the health and welfare of racehorses. It contains representatives of the BHA, Association of Racecourse Veterinary Surgeons (ARVS), British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA), National Trainers Federation (NTF), Racehorse Owners Association (ROA), Animal Health Trust (AHT), Thoroughbred Breeders Association (TBA), Racecourse Association (RCA) and Independent expertise.

BHA update regarding equine influenza case

10/02/2019 @16:35:00

Testing at licensed yards across the country is ongoing, with a view to quickly assessing and containing the potential spread of the highly contagious equine influenza virus which is affecting vaccinated horses.

The BHA is continuing to build a picture of the potential spread of the disease by testing as many horses as possible from potentially exposed yards. The data collected will help to build an evidence base which will allow a decision to be made on Monday as to whether racing can return on Wednesday 13 February.

Surveillance update

The Animal Health Trust (AHT) has now received several thousands of samples and is working through the process of testing those samples. The latest update that has been provided to the BHA confirms that no further positive cases have been identified from the testing carried out yesterday. Owing to the volume of testing being carried out the AHT have not been able to provide a precise figure as to the number of tests carried out, but they are of the view that the numbers processed will be roughly equivalent to the 720 which were processed the previous day.

Amongst the samples that have been tested are those of the remaining 27 horses from the yard of Rebecca Menzies. All horses in this yard have now tested negative, though the yard will remain under close surveillance and further testing will be carried out.

Analysis remains ongoing with more swabs being returned all the time, and yesterday 5,000 extra swabs were distributed to trainers to assist with the logistical challenges of testing this many horses.

The AHT have also publicly confirmed that a non-thoroughbred, unvaccinated horse has sadly had to be humanely euthanized after having contracted the virus. This shows the threat posed by the disease in unvaccinated horses and the importance of biosecurity procedures and movement restrictions to contain the possible spread of the disease.

Equine influenza should not be confused with or compared to the common ‘bug’ that might impact some yards from time to time. It is the most potentially damaging of the respiratory viruses that occur in UK equines, and it can be particularly serious for younger horses, which is of particular concern with the breeding season about to start. Trainers are required under the rules to notify the BHA should a case of equine influenza be identified or suspected in their yard.

Return to racing

A pragmatic and evidence-led approach is being adopted in order to enable the BHA to make decisions on Monday as to whether racing can return on Wednesday 13 February. A prioritisation plan for testing is being adopted, which is based on the proximity of horses to a positive test, or to a yard returning a positive test. Swabs will continue to be collected and tested from other horses, but some are being fast tracked. Separately, a specific plan is being formed as to what the clearance process will be for individual yards to return to racing.

This process will remain ongoing through today and tomorrow with a view to sufficient evidence being gathered to make a decision on Monday evening as to whether racing can return on Wednesday. We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding that as much evidence as possible must be gathered prior to making a decision as to when racing can safely return.

Should racing be given the go ahead to return on Wednesday then declarations for all races would take place on Tuesday.

David Sykes, Director of Equine Health and Welfare for the BHA, said:

“The data is encouraging and provides a further indication that the precautionary safety measures have helped to contain the spread of disease. However, the picture is still developing and it remains the case that we will make an evidence-based decision about the situation on Monday.

“It remains paramount that, for the sake of our horse population, we do not take any unnecessary risks. This is not a common cold, it is a highly contagious and potentially serious disease.

“The prioritisation exercise with regards to testing will help deliver a detailed picture of the spread of infection. Targeted testing, alongside the wide survey of data we have already gathered, will help provide a clear picture as to the scale of the spread of the disease. Any decision will include guidance and input from veterinary experts, including the industry’s veterinary committee.

“We are also working through the process that will be followed in order to give specific yards the all clear to resume racing. This will balance the clear need for yards to resume business as soon as possible with ensuring that we do not put horses at the risk of unnecessary harm. We are liaising with the NTF and trainers on this process.”

Testing costs

As confirmed last night, the BHA and Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) have agreed to pay a contribution to owners or trainers for the costs incurred where the BHA has required samples to be taken, including the cost of the swabs and the veterinary fees involved. We are working on the exact details with the NTF and HBLB and will confirm the reimbursement policy and process as soon as possible, but it will be based on a fixed fee per horse sampled.

The BHA is extremely grateful to HBLB for their important support and contribution.

BHA update regarding equine influenza case

08/02/2019 @ 14:25:00

The BHA has committed to providing meaningful daily updates regarding the ongoing situation in relation to the equine influenza case.

The analytical work is continuing, which involves testing of horses from a number of trainers yards across the country and seeking to isolate any issues we find in a bid to ensure that the situation is under control as much as possible, to protect the health of animals and to put racing back on the road as soon as is safely possible.

We will provide material updates with regards to any new cases and give as much information as is relevant and appropriate each day, while also respecting confidentiality and privacy of potentially affected people.

The BHA team is working closely with trainers, the NTF and other parts of racing, from who we have had excellent levels of cooperation. The Animal Health Trust is processing tests in their hundreds as quickly as possible and, alongside the project team at the BHA, is working throughout the weekend to help build an overall picture of the issue.

This process will continue over the coming days in order that an informed and evidence-based decision can be made on Monday as to whether racing can return on Wednesday. In the meantime we ask that everyone involved in the sport continues to be vigilant, restrict where possible all movements of horses and people and maintains the highest standards of biosecurity.

Of the samples that have been returned so far, three further positive results for equine influenza have been reported, all from the original affected yard. This means that in total six positive tests have been returned from the horses tested so far from this yard. Of the four horses from this yard who competed at fixtures this week, one has returned a positive sample so far – Raise A Spark, who competed at Ayr on 6 February. The test on this runner relates to a sample taken the following day, and the horse showed no clinical symptoms on raceday.

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.

We request that media respect that the priority of the yard in question now is to follow the necessary procedures to minimise the impact of this incident, and therefore not to contact the yard. Any queries on this matter should be directed to the BHA. The BHA would like to reiterate its thanks to the trainer for his cooperation and the responsible manner in which he has deal with this issue.

Testing of horses at the 120 yards which have been put on hold is continuing on an ongoing basis. No further positive samples have been reported as yet.

However, a separate suspicious case – which has not yet been confirmed as a positive sample – has been identified at another yard. No links have been identified between this yard and the original yard. This yard had runners at the fixtures at Newcastle on 5 February and Wolverhampton on 6 February, and as such the BHA has taken the further precautionary steps of placing all 54 yards of trainers who also had runners at these fixtures on hold and initiating testing of horses from these yards.

The BHA is working closely with the Animal Health Trust in order to manage the logistical challenge of providing sufficient swabs and handling the volume of tests being sent through the facility, considering that testing of a total of 174 yards is now taking place. It will not be possible to test every horse from every yard before the end of the weekend, but we will work with trainers to identify any priority or risk horses and ensure that they are tested. This will all form part of the picture that is built in order to assist the decisions that will be made on Monday.

New SNELL skull cap standard

SNELL have developed a new skull cap standard – E2016 – which the BHA intends to add to the list of skull cap standards permitted in the rules.

Manufacture of the E2001 standard ceased in 2018 and this standard will remain on the permitted list for the time being while stocks are held in shops. Because the maximum lifetime of a skull cap is four to five years, the BHA envisages 2023/24 as a probable date to withdraw the E2001 standard from the rules.

If a hat with an E2001 label also has PAS 011 or the other current standard, it will remain acceptable even when SNELL E2001 has gone.

Equine flu outbreak becoming more serious – take extra precautions

Late yesterday the Animal Health Trust issued an update on the outbreak of equine flu. As a result, trainers should take extra care about biosecurity to prevent the infection entering their yard.

Your first point of reference is the NTF’s Code of Practice for Infectious Diseases and associated Bio-Security Guidelines. These are found in the Horse Welfare section of the Members Area on our website. You can also check them on the EquiBioSafe app, which can be downloaded on both Apple and Android mobile devices.

With the increased threat to thoroughbreds in training, you should take precautions about service providers (e.g. farriers, vets, para-professionals) entering your premises and mixing with the horses. Ask where they have been prior to arriving at your yard. Consider providing clean over-clothing for them. Don’t forget to include headwear as a potential carrier of disease. Find out if any of your staff visit other equestrian premises or mix with other horses whose health status is unknown. New horses entering a yard should be isolated for a period of 14 days.

Vaccinations – the strong recommendation is to give an equine flu vaccination booster to any of your horses that have not received one in the last six months. Obviously this will depend on when the horse is likely to be racing next. It is a recommendation, not a rule.

Be vigilant. Confirmed cases must be reported to the British Horseracing Authority – this can be done via the EquiBioSafe App or by emailing equine@britishhorseracing.com or calling 020 7152 0009.

Reduction in omeprazole detection time

The BHA’s notice below is a welcome move forward in the regulation of omeprazole as a prohibited substance. The NTF has lobbied over a long period for omeprazole to be permitted on racedays on the basis that its effect is in the interests of a horse’s welfare by supressing the activity of gastric ulceration without affecting racing performance.

Though we have not achieved that goal yet, the announcement of a reduction in the official detection time is a step forward.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) would like to advise the Responsible Person (i.e. trainers, owners, breeders) and their veterinary surgeons that the Detection Time for omeprazole has been reduced from 72 hours to 48 hours. The updated Detection Time will be effective from 01 February 2019.

DETECTION TIMES
Substance Preparation Dose Route of Administration (no of horses) Detection Time (hours)
Omeprazole Gastrogard ®37% oral Paste Merial 1mg/kg for 28 days, once daily Oral (* see note) ≤48↓

* Calculated from several studies involving differing numbers of horses.

↓Decrease in Detection Time from previously published level. New Detection Time applicable from 01 February 2019.

The BHA Published Detection Times have been updated to reflect this change.

30 January 2019