Dan Skelton gives his take on the equine flu outbreak

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Dan Skelton speaks on the equine flu and how his own yard is doing in his latest Ladbrokes blog.

We are one of the 75 trainers who were represented at the racecourse on Wednesday so we are ‘in lockdown’. We are not moving horses, we have taken all the tests and they have gone off today.

We don’t know much more than what we found out on Wednesday night, other than that racing is off until at least next Wednesday.

The first round of tests are yet to be analysed so we don’t know the scale of the problem be it small or large.

That next piece of information is going to be very important for all of us; for the trainers, owners, jockeys and all racing staff and then of course the regulator.

This whole process is being regulator led and we have to do what we’re told effectively. Everyone is going to have an opinion I’m sure, but there isn’t need for one to be honest.

Horse welfare is first and that’s that. The BHA will rightly not sway from that and their protocol will be meticulously followed by us all.

From a selfish stand point, every trainer in the country is just hoping they get the all clear and that everything gets back to normal as soon as possible.

We all know Donald didn’t bring it upon himself and we are all supporting him.

I feel that Donald McCain has just been bloody unlucky. It has been going around on the continent especially and it has crept into leisure and sport horses in the UK.

It’s made its way around so I suppose it was always a risk that a training yard was going to catch it and Donald has been desperately unlucky. We all know Donald didn’t bring it upon himself and we are all supporting him.

Bio-security in all yards is vital. What you have to remember is that flu is at the tip of the iceberg (with some other nasty diseases).

It’s one of the worst things that we are trying to vaccinate and disinfect against. There’s a whole range of other smaller bugs and daily trials that we deal with and we are always disinfecting and being very vigilante on to keep them at bay.

We don’t go around saying you get it if you get it and there’s nothing you can do to prevent it. All racing professionals are all very aware of the measures needed to help against getting bugs like disinfecting and personnel crossover.

Bio-security is at a high level everywhere, you can’t say anything other than Donald was desperately unlucky.

If it is long lasting we have to accept that, there is nothing we can do about it.

We (UK) haven’t had any outbreaks of flu or anything as serious as this for a long time. If a meeting is off due to weather we are all jumping up and down wanting it back on whereas now it is a very different thing.

This is about the horses’ welfare and everybody recognises that that is a priority. If it is long lasting we have to accept that, there is nothing we can do about it. We have got to get the horses that are infected and the herd safe, which is the priority.

The BHA will not budge on that and they won’t succumb to pressure to say ok well we will just run Cheltenham. That’s just not going to happen.

I do think that there’s a certain optimism that perhaps this is quite isolated.

In saying all that, I do think that there’s a certain optimism that perhaps this is quite isolated and hopefully we are dealing with a small number.

Things can take a stand down until next Wednesday, I don’t know about beyond that but hopefully we can get back to normal.

Dan

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Dan Skelton

Since starting out on his own, Warwickshire trainer Dan Skelton has assembled one of the most exciting stables in National Hunt racing. Having enjoyed their first Cheltenham Festival success with Superb Story in 2016, Skelton and the team are hungry for more. Get the latest from the Lodge Hill maestro exclusively at Ladbrokes News.