Nicky Henderson Fears The Worst After Shutdown

Thursday saw one of the biggest news stories of the year in horse racing as a possible outbreak of equine influenza caused over 100 stables to go into shutdown until all horses have been tested and cleared of the virus.

Some of the trainers affected are the most experienced in the sport and leading British trainer Nicky Henderson is one of the many that has had to shut his seven barrows yard down until further notice.

The Champion trainer has explained how he ordered vets to his yard to arrive before dawn on the Friday morning to carry out the tests on his animals as quickly and effectively as possible.

The Lambourn based trainer expressed the importance of getting to grips with the situation immediately, with already a six day shutdown across the United Kingdoms race meetings, all trainers and racing enthusiasts want this problem to be solved as soon as possible.

(Credit Racing Post) "The repercussions of this are unthinkable as we could be without racing for weeks, months or longer – who knows? It's important that this problem is sorted straight away one way or the other.

"We have a team of vets coming in at 6am on Friday morning to take nasal swabs from every horse in the yard and my wife Sophie will then take the swabs straight to Newmarket so that we can find out where we stand as, in common with many other trainers, I want and need to know."

Before the shutdown Henderson watched his string of runners head out for schooling and was delighted with what he saw.

The mild winter could have had a huge effect with this disease coming to Britain but we will know more as the testing and investigation at the different stables continues.

The trainer added: "It's been a horribly mild and mucky winter and we have had the usual issues with some horses in the yard like many other trainers, as there is never a day in a year when 100 per cent of your horses are 100 per cent.

"I suggest it's better to start with a smile and we schooled 30 or so horses at home this morning and they all seemed well enough in themselves." 

Any British-based trainers who had runners at Ayr or Ludlow on Wednesday or Wolverhampton on Monday will have their entire string tested on Friday and again more will be revealed on the on going situation from there.

The BHA have scheduled a meeting for Monday to decide if racing can commence again in Britain on the Wednesday with all racing fans holding there breath until then.