Horse flu spreads tentacles

AS horses at Murwillumbah Racecourse waited to be vaccinated yesterday, the equine influenza (EI) crisis spread to one of Queensland's biggest thoroughbred nurseries at Glenlogan Park stud near Beaudesert and continued its rampage through NSW training centres, infecting horses at Broadmeadow Racetrack near Newcastle. Prior to news of the latest outbreaks, Tweed River Jockey Club (TRJC) officials had been optimistic that their Melbourne Cup Day race meeting would proceed despite a delay in arrival of the vaccine against the rampant EI.

"It's put on hold today," said TRJC secretary/manager Steve Huggins. "I don't know when it will arrive here. We're still hoping it will occur tomorrow or some time this week." Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'Landys said yesterday all racing stock in NSW would be vaccinated against EI in the coming days.

The decision comes following a meeting of racing officials and chief veterinary surgeons in Sydney yesterday.

"We will start with the 11,000 racing stock and then transitionally all others including yearlings and mares will be done," V'Landys said.

More than 100,000 vials of the vaccine are currently being held in a Sydney laboratory.

Late last week TRJC chairman Bernie Quinn told the Daily News he was optimistic the vaccine would be available in the Tweed and Northern Rivers early this week.

"We're hoping for a 100 per cent result, which should bode well for us in terms of getting horses on the track for the Melbourne Cup Day meeting at Murwillumbah," Quinn said.

"If not, we should receive confirmation by the end of next week for a phantom meeting." Yesterday Beaudesert's Glenlogan Park manager Steve Morley said 600 thoroughbreds including foals, for which the disease can prove deadly, had contracted the disease at the weekend.



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