Yard in lockdown amid equine influenza outbreak

We’ve found ourselves in lockdown along with all of the other trainers that had runners at Ludlow, Ayr and Wolverhampton.

Outofthisworld was obviously pulled up in her race at Ludlow on Wednesday but a post-race scope didn’t find anything and nothing seems amiss, she just didn’t run her race.

She’s been isolated since the news broke on Thursday and thankfully everything seems normal with her at the moment.

We’re continuing to run tests on her while taking swabs from all of the horses in the yard and expect the results to come back over the weekend or early on next week.

Hopefully all the results of the swabs from up and down the country will be in by Monday and the BHA can then start making decisions on whether and when racing will resume.

The horses are still exercising as normal as we could be racing again next week, we just don’t know.

The only difference really is just being that extra bit more vigilant to notice anything untoward with the horses.

This weekend will be a very strange period of waiting and being in limbo before we can make any plans for runners. We’ll keep exercising them as usual but, for example, we can’t be sure whether we’ll be looking at the Grand National Trial next weekend or the Eider Chase the weekend after for The Last Samuri.

The Cheltenham Festival obviously isn’t very far away now but we’ve just got to wait for the results to come back and then go from there.

Cheltenham isn’t the only concern, as my four-year-old daughter Ruby’s first reaction was to ask whether the outbreak could mean the mini pony club camp would be cancelled this summer!

I suppose every cloud has a silver lining and the perks of there being no Saturday racing means that I can spend a bit more time with the family, and watch a bit more of the Six Nations!

I fancy England to get past France after a brilliant result last weekend and I can see the Scots rubbing a bit of salt in the wounds of the Irish too.

We’ve got a split household with my wife, Ciara, being Irish so it makes for some fun watching.

Handicapper hits Winston C

I was very frustrated with the handicapper’s reaction to Winston C’s win at Sandown last Saturday. He won by a length and a half and has gone up 11lbs!

I’ve told the handicapper that by doing this they’re encouraging trainers to not run horses on their merits.

The feedback was that the second horse ran to a mark of 129, we were giving him 6lbs and we beat him a length and a half. For me, it’s a very hard one to take.

We were hoping to go for the Imperial Cup but it seems we’ve now shot ourselves in the foot. We’ll consider the County Hurdle at Cheltenham as well now.

Anyway, there are obviously more pressing concerns for ourselves and the BHA at the moment with the breakout of equine influenza.

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