TOM Gibney will today become the first Irish trainer to have a runner in Britain since the new equine flu prevention measures came into force.
He runs Ah Littleluck in the Grand National Trial and told The Irish Field yesterday: “The horse is already in Haydock so everything should be fine. We had to have a nasal swab from the horse analysed in the Irish Equine Centre and get confirmation that the horse does not have the flu.
“We provided that information – plus evidence that the horse had been vaccinated within the past six months – to the BHA. The box driver also took the documents with him. I don’t think there are any other special requirements.”
Co Kilkenny trainer Andrew Hughes was not as fortunate when he attempted to have a runner at Musselburgh on Wednesday. After a 610km journey, his horse The Tartan Spartan was denied a run, much to the annoyance of the trainer and the horse’s owner, Jim Long.
Hughes said: “I spoke to a senior BHA member of staff after declaration on Tuesday. He told me I needed proof of vaccination within the past six months and a declaration that the horse shows no clinical signs of the flu – you could print the form off the BHA website. A nasal swab was not mentioned.
“My horse left the yard at 11am and arrived at Musselburgh at 10.30pm but was not allowed in because they said he didn’t have the right paperwork. My BHA contact later told me that the rules had been changed at 1pm but nobody thought to tell me. I commend the BHA for their handling of the entire crisis but I was let down and it cost me €1,500. If I had been informed during the afternoon the only cost would have been €100 of diesel.”
Last Thursday week the IHRB and Horse Racing Ireland placed a ban on British runners travelling to Ireland. However, when it became apparent that the outbreak was contained, the IHRB lifted the ban on Monday afternoon. Newmarket trainer Michael Wigham was due to saddle a runner at Dundalk last night and reported no problems in satisfying the authorities that his horse was disease-free.