Trainers urged to be on guard over virus
Trainers and racecourses have been told to be on guard after it was revealed Victor Dartnall's Devon stables have been temporarily shut down following an outbreak of equine herpes virus in the form of equine neurological disease.
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Dartnall, whose stables are at Higher Shutscombe near Barnstaple, had runners as recently as Saturday at Wincanton while his last winners came at Exeter and Chepstow earlier this month.
It is possible his horses may have been carrying the disease before they showed any symptoms.
The British Horseracing Authority is taking all precautions to keep the outbreak under control.
In a statement, Professor Tim Morris, BHA's director of equine science and welfare, said: "We have been working with the trainer and his veterinary surgeon to ensure that the correct, robust security measures have been put in place.
"It is in theory possible that horses may have been infectious before the signs of the disease appeared.
"We have therefore alerted racecourse, trainer and veterinary representatives to possible exposure but stress that the actual risk of transmission of this virus in a controlled raceday environment is relatively small.
"This emphasises the importance of trainers being vigilant for signs of disease."
A statement on behalf of Dartnall said: "Over the last few days we have suffered an outbreak of a neurological disease in some horses.
"Initial test results support the cause to be neurological herpes virus.
"We are working very closely with our vets and the BHA and we are hopeful that we have the situation under control."
BHA spokesman Robin Mounsey said: "Obviously no entries can be accepted from the stable until the outbreak is cleared.
"The racecourses where Victor's horses have raced in the last couple of weeks have been informed. They will carry out their own procedures for ensuring the racecourse is completely clear of infection.
"Victor has done everything spot on. He's quite distraught as you can imagine and it is very sad news for him."