BHA RIGHT TO GIVE RACING THE GREEN LIGHT
It isn’t like me to get stressed, but the equine flu situation has had me pulling my hair out in the last few days!
Thankfully, we look to be coming out the right side of it. I think the BHA were right to do what they did when the first cases emerged. They didn’t know what extent of a problem they were dealing with and it made sense to be safe rather than sorry.
That said, I think it would have been a mistake for them to extend that cautious approach any further than they did. As much as we’d all like to, we will never have a clean slate when it comes to the equine flu, all we can do is our best to control it. With that in mind, they made the right call to start racing again on Wednesday.
Common sense has prevailed and while it has been disruptive, this outbreak will focus everyone’s minds on the best practice to reduce the possibility of a repeat of it any time soon.
The revised vaccination requirements have caused a bit of a stir since last night. Look, it isn’t ideal. It might well disrupt some trainers and the preparation of their horses for Cheltenham and will probably lead to smaller fields and some reduction of race quality in the short-term.
However, if that’s the price we have to pay to get the show back on the road and ensure the spring festivals are safe, so be it. As an industry we were looking down the barrel of a gun for the last few days and we have to be as careful as we can that we don’t find ourselves back there again because of the flu.
As a result of the cancellations in England, it was a quiet weekend for me with my only rides being at Naas. The pick of them was the Edward O’Grady-trained YOU CAN CALL ME AL in the maiden hurdle.
He’s a lovely big horse and he made a fine start to his career to finish fourth. It probably wasn’t the strongest maiden and he was very green, but he ran a nice race and should improve a nice bit from it.
Elsewhere on the card, I was impressed with the Joseph O’Brien-trained Band Of Outlaws in the four-year-old hurdle. The early pace was slow and that probably suited him, but Band Of Outlaws quickened up really well and looked a smart horse. Joseph has a really deep team of juvenile hurdlers and looks to hold all the aces in the division at the minute.
After all the drama of the last few days, we have a really strong weekend of racing to look forward to with Ascot in particular looking to be a proper card in the making. I’ll be back on Friday with all my thoughts on my rides there.