9th February 2019

09-February-2019 16:29
in General
by Admin

We had no reasons to do anything we would haven’t been doing otherwise this morning, the horses have had a totally uninterrupted week. They are oblivious of whats been going on.  


The horses have done plenty this week, as is the case on many Saturdays they all had a couple of quiet canters up the hill. Those who needed an extra one got it. 


The reports we have received from the BHA this afternoon bode well and if the results continue to prove negative we could and should soon be back to normal. I think the BHA did absolutely the right thing in the first instance, unless they receive a curve ball they need to get the show back on the road as quickly as they pulled stumps. It is always easier to see clearer once the dust settles. I think given all things considered and the results to date they, the BHA get us all back up and running there is nothing lost. It is always better to be safe than sorry in such circumstance but, as things stand, the resumption of racing is now paramount in all of this.  

Scotland looked as if they were going to make a fist of things in the first halve but it was all very one sided in the second halve. My saved texts of a series of Scottish flags sadly, could not be sent over the Irish sea. 

England vs France tomorrow - can't wait. 


Doc Martin sent this through. 


                                                             Why are you doing that test?

We go through our working lives guided in part by advice from those older and wiser. A few nuggets that stay with us forever. We can all think of our own examples and some have become common wisdom; how many apprentice tailors, joiners, boat-builders and wallpaper hangers were quietly advised “measure twice cut once”?

One that helped me along (hugely) as a doctor was in a sense also about measuring. Young medical students tend to over-investigate their patients, and a highly –respected senior Professor took us aside and predicted that we would work in a world that would offer more and quicker and painless tests. How right he was! But then the golden nugget….. ”Before you request a test consider the result”. We were perplexed –if you know the result why do the test? Which was one of his points of course. But what he also meant was “know the consequences and will it change your management?” And he made one other point; a disease does not exist because you can test for it! It exists and in due course it so happens that you can test for it! Yesterdays “The horses have a bug” becomes todays “The horses have equine influenza type 123 sub-type xyz””.

In the last 48 hours hundreds-probably thousands by now-of healthy vaccinated thoroughbreds have been tested for equine flu. Healthy because the trainer says so and they are the best ones to judge. Careful at this point. I am not questioning the merits of testing sick horses. 

But let’s consider the results of swabbing a healthy vaccinated horse for presence of equine flu virus in its nasal passages.

Option 1; the test is negative. The horse is fit and healthy. Great to know. Presumably keep it working as usual. 

Option 2; the test is positive. The horse is fit and healthy. My Professor is dead. But he would be saying the horse DOESN’T have true equine flu, IT HAS A POSITIVE TEST! You may now reflect on the wisdom of your decision to test a healthy animal. You know that equine flu is out there (endemic in other words), which is precisely why we vaccinate. Your random test of this healthy animal does no more than confirm what you knew anyway. When (not if) the virus comes calling it will not get fully behind the horses immune defense so will not cause the symptoms and suffering that we then call equine flu and rightly fear. And even if the virus has mutated over the past few months the vaccination WILL confer some –if not huge- protection. So the likelihood of this horse in Option 2 becoming properly ill with equine flu is greatly lessened by its having been vaccinated. Always bear in mind the possibility of a bad batch of vaccine but whilst that would be awful for the yard involved it would not represent “an outbreak in the industry”.

 We must not overlook the risk of leaving fit horses unraced or put on the easy list because of a test result, the risk to livelihoods of no racing, the risk to the morale and energy that gets us all out of bed in the morning. Yes we got out of bed Thursday morning at 0445 to get horses fed before we left Cornwall for Ffos Las where we had a declared runner. Only to get a cascaded text from the BHA to our obvious and huge disappointment.

The gravity of the decisions to be made by those in Authority after this weekend cannot be overstated.