AFTER a weekend in which a batch of negative test results suggested that the current outbreak of equine influenza has been reasonably well contained, Britain’s horse racing industry will be desperately hoping that the sport is able to resume on Wednesday.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has confirmed that despite around 1,500 horses having been tested in the last few days, the only six positive test results have come from the same stables owned by Donald McCain.

It had been feared that horses based at Rebecca Menzies’ yard in Sedgefield might have contracted equine flu, but the test results revealed at the weekend were negative. Miss Menzies has been widely praised for her proactive approach in flagging up a potential issue with the BHA, and her diligence is to be applauded.

A number of trainers have criticised the BHA’s decision to suspend racing, but given the risk of the disease spreading rapidly, they were surely right to err on the side of caution.

By conducting so many tests in an environment where horses from different stables are not mixing, they can be confident the current outbreak is under control.

That should hopefully enable racing to resume shortly, which will be a huge relief to the individuals and businesses in our area that rely on the sport.

The horse racing industry is one of North Yorkshire’s biggest employers, and while a week-long shut down should not be too damaging, the prospect of the current situation stretching on much longer is alarming.