We all wait with bated breath for the BHA announcement, hopefully later today, in regard to the resumption, or not, of racing in the UK.
Four new positive tests for equine influenza have been returned in vaccinated thoroughbreds at Simon Crisford’s yard in Newmarket over the weekend which means the confirmed number of thoroughbreds testing positive for equine flu is ten.
The losses for the Bookmaking industry have been widely reported, they are never slow at coming forward to tell us how bad things are but what about the rest of the game?
Obviously, there are costs to Trainers and the BHA and Levy Board have announced they will help trainers with the cost of having their runners tested.
There must be concerns for some in the weighing room, they’re not all Ryan Moore, and those getting just a few rides a week at some of the lesser meetings must be feeling the pinch already let alone if the shutdown runs in to weeks rather than days; and what about the likes of the valets, jockey agents, transport companies and stall handlers? I read with interest over the weekend comments made by Nico de Boinville on the Racing Post website: "Even when the weather causes racing to stop it's a worry. Jobs are at risk [because of this] and although some jockeys are financially stable and can use the opportunity for a sabbatical, a lot will be struggling. The valets have been overlooked in all of this, because when jockeys don't have a job neither do they. If you're not earning you're spending, and people have mortgages and cars to pay for. It's a disaster for the industry."
Local businesses near racetracks and training centres will, of course, be suffering. The likes of Pubs, Hotels and Restaurants are perhaps obvious as ones to suffer from the lack of visiting trade on cancelled race days but many might be part of a chain, think of the effect to the little independent Cafes, Newsagents, local Taxi firms and alike.
As I said in my most recent video the welfare of the horses must come first but the longer this enforced shutdown goes on the more many people and businesses will feel the financial strain.
Sadly, I am not convinced that we will be racing again on Wednesday.
With a yard at HQ infected, with around 80 trainers taking care of about 3,000 horses all in pretty close proximity, unfortunately, surely, there will be more positive tests yet. Do not forget when Australia was hit by equine flu in 2007, the industry was shut down for about six months and the country was not declared free of the disease until ten months later. I want the horse racing back asap, and feel for those directly affected by the outbreak of this virus but I fear we are far from out of the woods yet.
We wait for the news with fingers crossed it is good.