Gorgeous General became the first winner when racing resumed after the six-day shutdown due to the equine flu outbreak when he struck at Southwell – but he would have been prevented from running had the race been a few days later.
Trainer Lawrence Mullaney revealed the four-year-old needs to be vaccinated shortly to ensure he falls back within the six-monthly rule that was brought in by the British Horseracing Authority on Monday night as part of stringent precautions against the spread of the virus.
“We are only talking days. He’ll be vaccinated in two or three days. That just shows you. He was close to the six-month limit new rule that came in,” said the North Yorkshire handler.
“In normal circumstances we wouldn’t be vaccinating him as he’s well within the 12-month period, but to bring him back to the six-month rule we will be vaccinating him soon.
“He will then have to have seven days when he can’t run.”
Gorgeous General (2-1) signed off for his short break in style when outpointing Liamba by a neck, after a ding-dong battle over the last two furlongs in the Betway Apprentice Handicap under 7lb claimer William Carver. It was the horse’s third win in his last four starts.
“We’ve won the first race back and that’s great. He’s a lovely little horse for us,” said Mullaney.
“That should have been four in a row. He was second the last day, but was just drawn on the wrong side.
“In his last four runs he’s had three wins and a second – you can’t better that, really.
“He travelled away nicely early doors and even idled and played a bit at the finish.”
Mullaney has just the 12 horses and feels he has got away lightly compared to other trainers.
“I’m pleased we’re back racing. It’s not been that difficult for us. We vaccinated eight horses just to bring them within the six-monthly rule,” he said.
“Our horses have been fine, they are eating well and have shown no signs of anything. A few we vaccinated the other day seemed a bit quiet, but that is what happens.
“The horses that are ready to run are not affected in any way.
“A small yard like ourselves, we’ve not had that much involvement. It’s not affected us that much.”
In contrast, Gay Kelleway, who won the following race with Purple Rock, has fallen foul of the six-month regulations.
“I think from the very beginning we should have had an emergency trainers’ meeting with vets in attendance, probably in London, and turn up if you want to be involved,” the Newmarket handler told Sky Sports Racing.
“Then we would have all been on the same page. With all these emails and Twitter things, it’s just been a nightmare for everyone involved.
“Now we’ve got to do the injections for six months and a lot of horses are not qualified to run this weekend. We should have been told two weeks ago to do this and I would have done it.
“I’ve got three horses with good chances at the weekend that can’t run. It’s frustrating.”
Kelleway has stables in Chantilly and believes the situation has been dealt with better in France.
“They do it very differently in France,” she said.
“They contacted me straight away and told me exactly what I needed to do. The injections we needed, what swabs we needed. It’s very well organised, much more organised than the UK.”