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the news

Hendra “fruit bat”virus kills 13 horses

Racing continues despite the loss of eight horses in Queensland and five in New South Wales, while first dog showing signs of the virus

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thirteenth horse is confirmed to have died from the current outbreak of the Hendra virus in Australia. It is the fifth horse to die in New South Wales; the other eight horses have all died in Queensland. Meanwhile, in a concerning development, owners of a dog are awaiting the results of a second blood sample after “Dusty” revealed a positive to Hendra in a first test. He is the first dog to reveal symptoms of the virus, worrying vets that Hendra has evolved and humans could catch the virus from canines. The Hendra virus, which is carried by carried by fruit bats, can prove fatal to

humans and in the first known outbreak of the virus in Australia in 1994, 13 horses were killed and one trainer, while in a second smaller outbreak a horse owner died 14 months after his two horses were killed from the virus. He was found to have Hendra virus in the brain. All human deaths were contracted from horses. “The horse had been in a paddock containing a fig tree, so it is likely that flying foxes were the source of infection,” said NSW chief veterinary officer Ian Roth. The news follows an audit of the state’s 126 racetracks to assess the exposure of horses to disease-carrying fruit bats, while the NSW Department of Primary Industries is advising

trainers to cover food containers and keep their horses off grass so they can’t ingest the urine, faeces or birthing fluid of bats. Jamie Orchard from Racing Queensland says he does not expect the growing outbreaks to affect its race meetings, while vets have confirmed that the likelihood of human contamination is low. “We don’t see the need for it to affect any race meetings at this stage, people are getting on with it,” Orchard told ABC news. “Certainly the trainers in the racing industry are very conscious of what steps they need to take to minimise the risk. “They’re already taking the various precautions that we’re recommending so we’re fairly confident at this point that racing shouldn’t be affected. “While we’re very conscious of every particular instance and the potential consequences of an outbreak, we think that the risks to the racing industry are wellcontained.”

No doubts... Arqana playing on ’ ,

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...for leading sales consignor Ted Voute, who voices his opinion on all things bloodstock and sales-related

cursory look at the Arqana August catalogue leaves you under no illusion that it is a select international sale which now only houses 53 yearlings qualified for French owners’ premiums out of just over 200 on the first two days of the revised format. The days when the yealings at the sale were predominantly French-bred are in the distant past and the obvious concentration on attracting yearlings from Germany, Ireland, Italy and, of course, the US and Britain, has transformed the international appeal of the sale. As a vendor based in Britain, there is no disadvantage selling yearlings against such small numbers of qualified owner-premium yearlings. Now on a world stage, the sale compares well with other selected yearling sales. Over the past few years Arqana has stepped up its marketing effort making the most of the single most important advantage it can boast of – once buyers come to Deauville they will undoubtedly become repeat visitors as the seaside town has so much charm and sophistication on offer. All of this year’s select sales have the potential

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to be strong again with so many buyers participating for the quality yearling; there are at least 20 people who are prepared to spend over a million pounds on a yearling. Sir Robert Ogden has switched his alliance from the jumps to Flat horses and he is already reaping rewards, as is David Redvers for Pearl Bloodstock and the Al Thani family are enjoying a thrilling first foray into the sport. Both owners will be expected to feature in the list of leading buyers at all sales, including Arqana. France also has its own source of sportsmen and women who particularly like to buy in the country – Lady O’Reilly and the Marquise de Moratalla being especially fond of buying fillies to race in France. When I first sat on the Racehorse Owners’ Association (ROA) council four years ago prize-money was close to £100 million. Now, on leaving, it has fallen to a projected £32 million. It leaves me disgusted and worried that, despite a strong council, many of the political moves that have occurred during the time that I served the council have worsened an already fragile situation. The industry now more than ever relies on the resale of thoroughbreds to Hong Kong,

Dubai and the US as a last remaining income stream to lessen the escalating burden of costs to an already disgruntled owner. The ROA’s new president Rachel Hood has vision and may have a vehicle to act via ROA membership of the Horseman’s Group through which she can propel our industry the right way, whatever that may be. It is a nigh-onimpossible task which she may only get to start, but choosing the right path will be crucial and we must find someway of unifying the industry behind the democratic leaders that we have. The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (TBA) has systematically recruited top industry professionals to their board in order to protect the future of the Pattern race system. The TBA also has Horseman’s Group membership and I have no doubt that the ROA and TBA will be mutually beneficial. My political career on both councils has come to a voluntary end, but I will watch both closely and hope that the key to a successful industry is discovered. It is something that can’t be done without the full support from all owners and breeders who are involved in British horseracing.

Profile for Thoroughbred Publishing

International Thoroughbred  

The horseracing and bloodstock magazine for the global audience

International Thoroughbred  

The horseracing and bloodstock magazine for the global audience