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Nicholls and Hobbs among those isolating horses who ran at meetings in spotlight

Paul Nicholls: has moved Ludlow runners into isolation
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Trainers potentially at risk from the outbreak of equine flu in Britain reacted quickly on Thursday in a bid to stop the virus from spreading.

Three horses tested from the Donald McCain yard tested positive for the virus on Wednesday and the trainer had a runner at Ayr and Ludlow on Wednesday. 

Although those runners were not the horses to test positive for equine flu, other trainers who had runners at Wednesday's meetings have taken precautions to minimise the risk of the flu spreading.

Among them is Paul Nicholls, who said: "The two horses we ran at Ludlow yesterday – Tommy Silver and Miranda – have both been isolated as a precaution. At present it's just the one yard that is affected so hopefully it will stay that way.

"We had all our horses vaccinated at Christmas/New Year as is normal policy and that should have done its job."

Philip Hobbs and Harry Fry also had runners at Ludlow and have taken similar steps to Nicholls.

"Golden Sovereign ran in the final race at Ludlow on Wednesday in which the horse from the yard that is affected ran and we took him out of our yard at 7am this morning. He has been moved to a nearby livery yard," Hobbs said.

Fry added: "We have isolated Outofthisworld from the yard this morning as she ran at Ludlow on Wednesday. The horse stabled in the next box to her at the yard has also been moved away from the other horses as a precaution."

Equine flu is highly contagious and can be easily spread by humans as well as horses, so yards are instigating several practises to try and minimise risk of exposure.

Nick Alexander had six runners at Ayr on Wednesday and said: "We've already steam-cleaned and disinfected our lorries and all the clothing that the attendants wore and the clothing that the horses wore is all being done.

"We've done it just in case, it's got to be a million to one chance but we steam clean and disinfect our lorries about once a fortnight anyway so it's no hardship to do it extra.

"The horses' temperatures were all taken this morning and they'll be taken twice a day until they're past the incubation period, which I think is five days. So far the temperatures were all good."

Trainers will be monitoring their strings nervously in the coming days, and Tom Lacey, who had three runners at Ludlow said: "You're naturally worried when it's airborne. Everyone's holding on to the edge of their seat in hope - if your children are at school, you hope that they don't catch the bug that's going round.

"Our horses all ate up after racing, they've had their temperatures taken this morning and they're fine. You're nervous but what can one do?

"We all need to keep a very rational head on and be sensible. Everyone needs to be ultra-cautious.

"It's not a time to panic and people need to be careful about speculation. It's not a national disaster, it's a mere annoyance and we'll all have to sort ourselves out and get through it the best we can."

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At present it's just the one yard that is affected so hopefully it will stay that way
E.W. Terms