Martin’s Blog 7th February

We woke yesterday to the worrying news that racing was cancelled (we were due to run Primogeniture at Doncaster) due to three confirmed cases of Equine Influenza in vaccinated horses in a racing yard. Thankfully we haven’t had runners for 10 days however it is still a huge worry as we are not sure when racing will re-start. We therefore aren’t on an enforced ‘Lockdown’ like so many are however we wouldn’t want to move our horses at the moment anyway and have cancelled any horses using the gallops.

My Assistant Trainer, Foxy, has taken the temperatures of every horse in our yard and they are all normal. We will continue to do this daily for the time being. We have strict biosecurity measures in place already – Foxy & the team ensure everything is as clean as possible including things such as the bit from every bridle being cleaned in disinfectant between each horse. Once a week, after the horses are turned out and the stables have been mucked out again the clean bedding is pulled into the middle of every stable, the outside shutters of the barn are closed and our Yardman Lucjan ‘fogs’ the yard. He has a special “equine friendly” disinfectant in a back pack (fogging machine) and he sprays a fine mist in every stable, including the roof, which fills the whole yard and gets rid of any bugs etc. We are always thinking of more ways we can work together to ensure the horses are as healthy as possible.

This includes fresh air and our horses love being turned out regularly. All horses were turned out yesterday and, as ours have had a quiet period during the snow, they are so fresh and were rolling, bucking & kicking so are hopefully feeling well. They’ll be no turnout today though as we await the storms we are forecast this afternoon.

We had a visit from Sally Challoner from BBC Points West yesterday afternoon to discuss the outbreak which was shown last night. Racing, at the moment, isn’t due to re-start until next Wednesday at the earliest – a necessity and I fully back everything that the BHA are doing however it’s so disappointing for Newbury’s big meeting this weekend along with Warwick and Uttoxeter and so many horses having their Festival prep runs. We need to get on top of it though and let’s hope racing gets the all clear after the weekend and it is then all systems go again….otherwise it could be a worrying time.

There is often kindness that comes out of times like this and thanks to Hugh Kelly at The Hollow Bottom and his team, racing staff can eat a selection of food on their menu for £5 and also receive 10% off their bill – brilliant!